By Michelle Solomon
The long awaited oppidan dining hall is said to be opening at the start of the second term this year.
Discussions for the building of this additional dining hall started in 2005, while building started in early 2006. “When the project was originally costed, we estimated R4 million would be needed to build the dining hall,” says Gordon Barker, hall warden for the oppidans. “The University didn’t like the idea.”
Fortunately the oppidan committee did some research, and when they approached the University with a second proposal, managed to get estimated costs down to less than R2 million.
“There are over 300 first year oppies this year, and they really need the support,” says Barker, and this support comes as the oppidan dining hall which offers new opportunities to meet other students. “It’s nice to have a place to go to, and meet more people,” says Cairalee du Preez, a first year oppidan. The dining hall meals are said to be of the same value as residence dining hall food – a good addition for oppidans that might live far from the University and cannot afford to buy food from the usual places around campus. “It’s really good on our budgets,” says Du Preez.
Some oppidans are uninterested in the prospective opening of the dining hall however. Kirsty Harcourt-Cooke, a second-year oppidan, states “I’m indifferent to the opening [of the dining hall],” and continues “I think it’s a good idea that they’re making the effort for the oppies, I’m not going to use it.”
Thanks to the new subwarden system employed this year by oppidans, first year oppidans had the opportunity to enjoy the many O-Week events that before were a priviledge of those living in residence. This included several workshops, which “provided a wonderful opportunity for oppies to
meet other first years – a task which is often very difficult for oppidan first years, without the support of the residence system,” says Tanya Milward, one of eight oppidan subwardens this year.