University canteens struggle with student rise

University canteens struggle with student rise
Photo: DPA
A student union has warned that German university canteens are in desperate need of an upgrade, to cope with the massively increased demand caused by record numbers of new undergraduates.

Achim Meyer auf der Heyde, general secretary of the Deutsche Studentenwerk (DSW), a conglomeration of 58 student unions from around the country, said that without large-scale expansion of Germany’s canteens, universities would face serious “bottlenecks”.

The student unions will need at least €200 million to finance their project, which will boost the capacity of canteens nationwide.

The number of university students in Germany has risen by 25 percent to 2.5 million in the last ten years. There are only 236,000 places in the country’s canteens, meaning there are only 10.5 places for every 100 students, said auf der Heyde.

As a result, students coming to canteens for a mid-day meal are put off by the long waiting times and make do with a quick take-away snack. “That’s not really a replacement”, auf der Heyde warned.

The DSW runs 875 catering establishments in German universities, including 400 canteens. Four out of every five students eat at canteens around three times a week – but the canteens are more popular with some than others. The “typical” canteen-diner, says auf der Heyde, is male and studies medicine, natural sciences or engineering.

DPA/The Local /atje

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