By Kaie Quigley – Features Editor
One of the most missed on-campus offerings has returned as a reward for students’ commitment to keeping the community safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic— 1851 has re-opened for late-night dining three nights a week.
In an email to the undergraduate student body in mid-February, Assistant Vice President of Administration and Operations Diane Parker said, “because of all of your incredible work – wearing face coverings, not gathering in groups, and helping to keep the Lasell community safe – we feel that we are able to offer a modified late-night program at 1851 while continuing to keep everyone COVID-safe.”
Also returning at 1851 is the meal swipe option in which students can pay for their orders using swipes from their meal plan, instead of having to use dining dollars or personal debit or credit cards.
The amount of late-night meals each student is allowed per week depends on their meal plan. The email sent out by Parker also states that the Laser 19 plan allows for three meals a week, the Laser 14 allows for two meals a week, and the Laser 10 allows for one meal a week.
Junior Olivia Faulkner enjoys having the ability to use a meal swipe at 1851. “As a resident student, I enjoy having more than one option [for dining]. Sometimes I just want a quick bite to eat and I will go to 1851 instead of the dining hall and it’s nice to have many options,” said Faulkner.
While this option is available for the first time since last year, things are operating differently than they were pre-pandemic. “Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we will not have the ability to take an order at the counter; the Boost app is the only way to place an order,” said Parker in the email.
The Boost app is used to ensure contactless ordering and payment.“Pre-covid, guests would have an order number on their receipt, the team member would call out the number and occasionally guests would lose their tickets causing some confusion. The introduction of Boost has made the ordering process efficient for students as well as the dining team,” said Kyle Mullen, who works in dining services and often works late-night hours at 1851.
While the app has been used for 1851 all year, there is now a separate section exclusively for meal swipe orders. Students must do all order customizations on the app, and can pay with dining dollars or by using a swipe when they pick up their order.
“I like it more than the old way,” said junior Madison Wantman about ordering through the Boost app. “I don’t have to sit and wait for my food, I can just order it and then go pick it up when it’s ready.” Wantman also said, “the app is really easy to use and all you have to do is tap your [Lasell ID] when you pick it up.”
Boost also aims to help with crowd control by managing the number of orders per minute and hour. Additionally, the email from Parker encouraged students to arrive no earlier than their allotted pick-up time to alleviate crowding concerns at the counter and in Arnow.
“Late-night continues to be busy, especially from 6:00 [p.m.], 7:00 [p.m.],” said Mullen. “Now with students having the option to use their meal swipe, it’s created an additional incentive to order food on-campus… late-night is our busier meal period.”
Of course, students are required to wear a mask and abide by all other COVID-19 restrictions at pick-up, including physical distancing. Meals are packaged so they can be taken back to be enjoyed in a socially distant area. Students are permitted to eat with groups in Arnow as long as guidelines are being followed.
“I see late-night reopening as a huge success,” said Mullen. “The first few nights provided us room to make adjustments to ensure a smooth experience for both the guest and our team. In my experience, I see that students are very pleased to see late-night return as it gives them a sense of normalcy on campus.”
Late-night options will be available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.