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Students vs. the lunch line, and the line is winning

Blog — 3.4.2023

Students vs. the lunch line, and the line is winning

The lunch break is one of the best elements of the day. This is when we take the time to care for ourselves by eating well, spending time with friends and relaxing. Personally, the lunch break is the most important aspect of my university day, as everything is planned around it. When I was in my first year of studying the lunch break was a whole hour and a half long, which made many parts of the day run smoother. An hour and a half gives time to both socialize and work on projects, meet with teachers or association boards. During our current 45 minutes it is not as simple.  

How do student’s feel about the lunch break, then? 

30 January the Student Union sent out a survey to map what students think of the lunch break. The survey got 177 replies, of which most were of the mind that the break is too short. Many replies point out that the queueing time is too long, but generally the replies were thoughtful and made it clear that the lunch break play a vital part in the student’s day. Below are some of the English survey answers: 

“I do think it is short, and because everybody wants to eat at the same time, there’s people queueing which makes us have to rush more to eat or we cannot even get food and eat. In addition, if we want to buy a takeaway-portion you can’t pay student price for the lunch anymore, which makes it more difficult for us.” 

“Personally I haven’t had problems with the length of the lunch break, as I don’t have any lectures back-to-back. However, the lines are very long, so the concern is understandable.” 

“The lunch should be more than 45 minutes.” 

From all the freeform survey answers we can see that currently the lunch break is not up to the needs of students.  

What has the Student Union done with the survey results? 

During the Student Union’s lunch with vice-rector Gunilla Widén and Director of University Services Heidi Backman we discussed the survey and its results. It is worth noting that the shortened lunch break was implemented right before the pandemic, which means it has not had a lot of time on campus to be correctly evaluated as either suitable or not. During the pandemic it was of less importance to move between campus buildings, but now it is clear that the allocated time for lunch is not enough. The problem is obvious in both Vasa and Åbo.   

Kårkaféerna are aware of the queueing problem, and they want to remind everyone of efficient queueing. Making sure to have your student discount card and payment ready in time makes everything run smoother, but a longer lunch break would solve the problem.  

Change is coming, or at least discussion of it 

The Student Union has learned after the discussion with Widén and Backman that the issue of the lunch break is going to be presented to the Strategic Council for Education to be prepared for the Rector’s Executive Group where we have student representatives. Hopefully we can see a change in scheduling in 2024–2025, and with that a longer lunch break. We are very pleased and grateful for the positive dialogue we had with the university!