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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Campus Dining extends dining hall hours, expands Munchie Mart options during Ramadan

Campus Dining collaborated with the Muslim Student Association and the Center for Spiritual and Religious Life to implement Ramadan accommodations in E. Bronson Ingram Dining Hall and Munchie Marts.
Amelia Simpson
E. Bronson Ingram Dining Hall, as photographed on Sep. 9, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Amelia Simpson)

Campus Dining partnered with the Muslim Students Association and Center for Spiritual and Religious Life to offer meal accommodations for students observing Ramadan, which begins on March 22 and ends on April 21. The accommodations include extended dining hours, expanded grab-and-go options and cuisines of various cultures. 

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and a holy month of fasting. During the month, Muslims fast from dawn until dusk, pray and read the Quran as a sign of devotion to Allah. Students who observe Ramadan do not eat or drink during the day and only break their fasts at sundown after evening prayers, leaving limited overlap between dining hours on campus. 

To accommodate fasting times, Campus Dining has extended EBI Dining Hall’s dinner hours until 9 p.m. CDT for the entire month for all students. Hot meals of different cultures will be served from 7:30 to 9 p.m. CDT, including six days of meals inspired from Middle Eastern, South Asian and African cuisines to capture ethnic diversity among Muslim students. MSA President Namrah Ajmal, a senior, also reported that the MSA received permission to decorate the dining hall in honor of Ramadan.

To allow dining staff to estimate demand, Campus Dining told The Hustler that students must make reservations for hot meals served during extended dining hours by selecting the “Ramadan reservations – EBI” storefront on the GET app. Reservations will not automatically charge a meal swipe; students must still tap their Commodore Cards to pay for meals when arriving at EBI.

Sophomore Salwa Daouk expressed excitement about the news and believes extending dining hours in EBI will strengthen the sense of community among Muslim students.

“I’m really excited to see more options opening up especially with how much the Muslim community is growing on campus,” Daouk said. “I think extending the hours for EBI would also attract a lot of people to one place and would create that community aspect that a lot of people crave during this time of the year.” 

Additionally, Munchie Marts in Rothschild, Branscomb, Highland and Commons will offer a new rotation of grab-and-go options for “suhoor,” pre-dawn meals, and “iftar,” evening meals. 

“In addition to fresh Vandy Provisions meals, students can find a variety of halal-friendly frozen meal options,” Campus Dining’s email reads.

Ajmal expressed appreciation for Campus Dining’s willingness to work with MSA. She said MSA met with Campus Dietitian Emily Svennevik during Fall 2022 to voice concerns about limited availability of zabiha halal meat — meat that is slaughtered according to Islamic Rites — on campus and possible cross-contamination in food that go against Islamic dietary laws. This semester, Ajmal said the MSA were given the opportunity to meet with University Chaplain Christopher Ross Donald to discuss Ramadan plans.

“[Campus Dining is] very much letting us choose every aspect of the experience in order to make sure our needs are met, so we are very grateful and excited for dining plans the coming month,” Ajmal said. 

Ross confirmed that he worked with MSA on Ramadan accommodations; Svennevik did not respond to The Hustler’s request for comment.

First-year Mona Al Yahya said she appreciates the accommodations Campus Dining made. However, she stated that the portion size of food in the suhoor boxes was small.

“I appreciate all the effort that they put, especially in how they let us give them recipes to make,” Al Yahya said. “I would love to see more freshly prepared food like the boxes they usually have at Munchie Marts.”

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About the Contributors
Sae-Eun Lee
Sae-Eun Lee, Staff Writer
Sae-Eun Lee is from Atlanta and is majoring in human and organizational development and Asian studies. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her hanging out with friends and family, watching K-Dramas or traveling. She can be reached at [email protected].
Amelia Simpson
Amelia Simpson, Staff Photographer and Graphics Staffer
Amelia Simpson ('25) hails from Brisbane, Australia and is a student in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in public policy. Outside of her work in the Hustler’s multimedia sections, Amelia is a member of the club rowing and equestrian teams. You can reach her at [email protected]
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