Andres Tennus

Student canteen opened its doors at Hugo Treffner Gymnasium

On 12 October, a student canteen opened at the Hugo Treffner Gymnasium in Tartu. The initiative led by the students of the University of Tartu aims to provide students with an affordable lunch option. The canteen will be open from Monday to Friday from 14–16.   

At first, the caterer of Hugo Treffner Gymnasium, AS Toidutorn, offers lunch to students as a pilot project to see the actual demand for such an opportunity. The first weeks will show whether the student canteen project will be continued.  

"In these difficult times, the student canteen is a great way to get a varied and tasty meal every day at an affordable price. However, the success and continuation of the project directly depend on the number of customers. Therefore, I urge all students in Tartu to have lunch at the canteen regularly. Together, we can demonstrate the need for a more sustainable solution," said Katariina Sofia Päts, President of the University of Tartu Student Union. 

The student lunch is an extension of the school lunch: once the secondary school students have eaten, university students are welcome to the canteen. The menu is the same for university and secondary school students, and there are three options:   

  • XL menu (a non-soup dish on all days) for €4.20,   
  • school lunch (a non-soup dish on some days, soup and dessert on others) for €3.50, or 
  • a vegetarian meal (a non-soup dish on some days, soup and dessert on others) for €3.50.  

The weekly menu will be published on the University of Tartu Student Union (UTSU) website.   

Students can enter the canteen from a separate entrance on Jaani street. The door opens into the dining hall lobby, where there is a hand-washing facility. Payment (in cash or by card) is made on the spot before taking food. 

The idea of a student canteen was born this summer when representatives of Tartu Analytica, an initiative group of students and alumni, contacted the University of Tartu and drew attention to the increasingly difficult economic situation of students. Discussions about the cost of lunch led to the idea of seeking cooperation opportunities with Tartu schools. An agreement was quickly reached with the management of Hugo Treffner Gymnasium and its caterer AS Toidutorn, who agreed to open the school canteen to university students.  

In addition to creating the option of a student canteen, the university also started cooperation with Foodsharing Tartu and soon plans to open the first food-sharing cupboard by the residence hall on Purde street. The students also called on Tartu's restaurants to offer reduced prices to students who show their ISIC card. Shakespeare, La Dolce Vita and Vilde ja Vine responded to this call and offer students a discount on the daily specials.

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