Students and their professors can enjoy a meal together at the Faculty Commons once again.
The “Faculty lunch” program, which was limited to the Great Hall and Marketplace last year, once again allows meals at the Faculty Commons, Duke Dining Director Jim Wulforst said.
“We made the decision based on student feedback,” Wulforst said. “[The] Office of Student Activities and Facilities and Duke Student Government thought the Faculty Commons was an important part of the program.”
Wulforst noted, however, that Flunch will no longer be available for dinner for financial reasons, adding that offering free dinner put too much of a budget strain on OSAF, which runs the program.
When OSAF funding could not support Flunch dinners anymore, both lunch and dinner were discontinued at the Faculty Commons, Wulforst said. The group decided to bring the lunch back this year at an affordable cost.
Sophomore Chris Brown, DSG Vice President of Athletics and Campus Services, said faculty and students alike felt the Great Hall and Marketplace did not provide the intimate setting they believe a Flunch merits.
The Faculty Commons provides a calm environment that allows for meaningful conversations without noise or distractions, said sophomore Danya Liu, who recently participated in the Flunch program.
“Offering lunches for Flunch at the Faculty Commons is a pretty cost-effective method,” Brown said. “It was more of [DSG and OSAF] finding an outcome that satisfied everyone.”
Brown said Flunch will still be available at the Great Hall, Marketplace and Devil’s Bistro, in addition to the Faculty Commons.
OSAF spent about $30,000 last year on approximately 350 total Flunches, said OSAF Director Chris Roby. The initial budget was only $25,000, but Steve Nowicki, dean and vice provost for undergraduate education, helped meet the extra need through funding, he added.
“[Nowicki] is a huge advocate for creating out-of-classroom opportunities that create faculty-student interaction,” Roby said.
He noted that the average cost per person for dinner at the Faculty Commons last year was about $35, as compared with this year’s cost of $7 for lunch. There have been 29 Flunches so far this year, but Roby expects the number to increase toward the end of the semester as students become more familiar with their professors.
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