The Residential & Dining Enterprises-sponsored High Performance and Education (HPE) dinner — originally known among students as “athlete dinner” — sparked a Twitter debate in December, but less well-known is the “athlete’s breakfast” in Branner Hall, available on weekdays from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.
“Branner Dining hosts a supplemental morning meal for athletes, consistent with their training needs and schedules and in accordance with NCAA guidelines,” wrote Jocelyn Breeland, R&DE’s director of communications, in an email to The Daily.
Breeland said that the meal has been offered for a number of years and is funded by the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER). This is programmatically separate from the HPE meals, which are provided by R&DE.
A Nov. 27, 2017 email sent to Branner residents by Branner Resident Fellow Mary Esther Schnaubelt announced that the special breakfast had been opened to all students. Previously, it had only been available to athletes on certain sports teams.
Schnaubelt wrote that the total cost of the breakfast is $15.30. Non-athletes and student athletes whose teams are not in the athlete breakfast program can use their breakfast meal swipe — valued at $6.89 — and then pay the remaining $8.41 with meal dollars, a credit/debit card or meal plan dollars.
“It is more elaborate than other breakfast offerings on campus and more expensive,” she wrote.
A female soccer player added that she, as a member of a team assigned to the breakfast program, does not pay for the breakfast at all. Though she swipes her Student ID card to get into the facility to eat, she does not have a meal plan this year.
The cost of breakfast at Branner, however, sometimes dissuades students from eating this breakfast.
“I don’t go to [Branner athlete breakfasts] because I can’t use my money on that when I already have a meal swipe to get breakfast somewhere else,” said Karla Villanueva, ’20, a Branner resident.
Breeland noted that on average, 80 percent of HPE diners are not varsity athletes. Villanueva said that she doesn’t know any non-athlete Branner residents who go to the athlete breakfast.
“The few people I’ve talked to in Branner are of that same mindset that we can’t afford to spend almost $9 a day on breakfast when it’s less costly to go eat breakfast at a different dining hall,” Villanueva said.
Breeland confirmed that fewer non-athletes frequent the breakfast.
“We are not aware of an instance where a student who was not an athlete has participated in the supplemental morning meal,” Breeland wrote.
One Branner resident who attends this breakfast agreed with Breeland’s statement.
“I don’t even think any of the other Branner residents go there,” said Talbot Morris-Downing ’18, a Branner resident and non-athlete who eats the breakfast three times a week. “I think I might be the only one I’ve ever seen who is clearly not an athlete.”
Morris-Downing emphasized three elements of the Branner athlete’s breakfast that he found particularly alluring.
“The convenience, the orange juice machine and the fact that they generally serve bacon, which I really appreciate,” he said.