After two years of discussions and student campaigns, dinner will be back on the menu in University dining halls on Saturday nights starting in the fall.

With the support of University Housing, the Residence Halls Association passed a resolution late last month that would provide students with the option of having dinner every night of the week in campus dining halls. The decision will revive the Saturday night dining option, which was cancelled in 2005 because of low student turnout.

RHA President Trevor Grieb said the association passed a number of resolutions supporting Saturday night dining over the past two years because there was strong student support for the option. However, until now, University Housing hasn’t approved of the previous resolutions to restore Saturday night meals in the dining halls. This time was different, Grieb said, because the resolution included a budget plan formulated by University Housing administrators.

University Housing spokesman Peter Logan said the decision to revive Saturday night dining came after months of budgetary considerations and discussions with the RHA. The combination of the Michigan Student Assembly’s campaign to restore Saturday night dining and support from the RHA and the residential student population encouraged University Housing to restore dining to all seven nights of the week, Logan said.

The issue of Saturday night dining became a prominent topic on campus during the winter 2010 semester, when former MSA President Chris Armstrong and other members of the MForward party advocated for the return of the Saturday evening meals.

“A lot of students have been talking about wanting this kind of option and having the dining halls more accessible to them and (Saturday night dining) will do just that,” Grieb said.

Due to structural constraints, only two of the three largest dining halls will provide Saturday evening dining options — Bursley Residence Hall, South Quad Residence Hall and/or the Hill Dining Center. All other dining halls will remain closed Saturday night.

“Ideally, we would like to offer meals seven nights a week at South Quad, Hill Dining Center and Bursley, but we haven’t yet worked out all of those logistics,” Logan said, adding that Bursley is a primary candidate because of its location on North Campus.

While the exact cost of the Saturday night dining option remains unclear, Logan said cuts and reallocations of funds in University Housing’s budget would pay for the new option, rather than increasing room and board rates.

LSA freshman Omar Hashwi, an LSA representative on MSA and chair of MSA’s Campus Improvement Commission that has been working to resotre Saturday night meals in campus dining halls, said he is extremely pleased with the RHA resolution.

“We’re just really happy to make this happen for our constituents,” Hashwi said. “They asked something from us and I believe we were successful in taking their concerns and making them a reality.”

LSA senior Nathan Hamilton, an LSA representative on MSA who was also involved in the assembly’s Saturday night dining campaign, said the Saturday dinners will provide students who can’t afford to eat off campus with more nutritional selections compared to the food offered at residence hall cafés like Ciao Down Pizzeria in South Quad.

“A lot of students have left over meal credits, and it’s very beneficial to be able to actually use those on Saturday nights,” Hamilton said.

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