Faults in the new Diner are numerous: limited options, limited availability make eating difficult
by MELANIE SCHAFFER
Talk of the new dining services facilities began with excitement toward the end of last semester. Now that the new Student Union Building (S.U.B.) has been open for several months, this talk has not died down, but merely changed its tone as students begin to express more and more concerns with the renovated dining facilities.
Last semester, Dining Conference Services (DCS) gave a rundown of what the new S.U.B. would include. Students’ hopes were raised when they heard the size of both the Deli and Salad stations would be doubled in an effort to maximize efficiency and provide a greater array of dining options.
In addition, the Italian station would be updated to include more appealing options than the daily four sauce selection.
Most importantly, there was to be a new station which would cater specifically to those students with common food allergies.
This addition was also part of a larger effort to provide more nutritious options for students as a whole. These updated stations were all to be housed in a sleeker, more ergonomically sound service and dining area.
Six months later, students are finding it difficult to see any resemblance whatsoever between the plan and execution of these renovations.
Students across campus have found issue with the discrepancies between their expectations and the reality of the new facilities, and while no one complaint sticks out above the rest, the murmurs of discontent have been growing persistently louder as the semester progresses.
To give an idea of the breadth of issues found with the renovations, several students were asked specifically what their biggest problem with the new S.U.B. was.
Sophomore Alana Fineman was concerned about the lack of healthy options and admitted that she actually had to give up trying to eat nutritious meals.
“I had to stop because I couldn’t eat anything and was hungry always,” Fineman said.
A concerning statement, considering that a new level of health-consciousness was one of the overarching goals of DCS in regards to the updated facilities.
This statement, however, is not surprising. The addition of a second salad bar, while great in theory, falls short in execution as the second bar has more or less the same selection as the first, leading to little or no variety in one’s salad.
In addition, the Italian station has done away with the same four watery sauces, to the delight of many students. Unfortunately, these have been replaced with a daily meat pasta, vegetarian pasta, and pasta bake.
Pasta in and of itself is not an ideal choice for the health-conscious student, but these dishes are out of the question as they almost always contain copious amounts of cheese and heavy cream.
Fineman was, however impressed with the new Deli station and argued that it does have the best food.
However, she found that it, too, has its problems.“I just never have the time to go there because the line’s always long,” Fineman said.
Sadly, it seems that though the intention with the new Deli station was to increase efficiency, no such progress has been made.
Seniors like Robyn Helwig are finding it hardest to adjust to the radically different dining area. In regards to the updated S.U.B., Helwig found fault in the lack of options offered to students.
“I mostly just go to the Burrito station but sometimes I want to expand and I can’t because…they keep repeating the same thing over and over again,” Helwig said.
Although many complaints are coming from upperclassmen who can’t help but feel nostalgic for the old S.U.B., they are not the only ones expressing concern.
“I think it’s alright, [but] they don’t have very many options after 7 p.m.,” first year Allie Lawrence said.
This concern is one that is not new as of this year. In fact, many students’ main problem with the S.U.B. last year was exactly this.
College students are notorious for having incredibly busy schedules that aren’t necessarily compatible with the two-hour range allotted to dinner time.
If a student cannot get to the S.U.B. between five and seven on a given weekday, they are likely to find that their choice of food has dwindled from all six stations to only one or two.
Taking into account the widely varying schedules of students, it seems that this is an issue that should have been addressed during the planning stages of renovations. Unfortunately, these efforts were placed elsewhere.
A main concern that was taken into consideration in the planning stages was that of maneuverability within the S.U.B. As it was, during peak hours students could be found waiting in line at a station for up to fifteen minutes.
This was something DCS intended to remedy during construction, but again failed to do so.
“At certain points in the day there are long lines, and it doesn’t work very well maneuvering around everybody,” Lawrence said.
According to Lawrence, in addition to the lines remaining long, people are actually having to push through other lines just to get to the station they want.
On the bright side of this, DCS has managed to deliver on one of their intended goals in the form of the Allergy station. This station, many students agree, serves the best vegetables and healthiest options. In addition, students with gluten, dairy and nut allergies are finally able to find nutritious meals without having to double and triple check ingredient lists.
There is no doubt that DCS had good intentions going into this massive renovation, and in some ways the S.U.B. has actually improved. Unfortunately, the negative effects of the construction far outweigh the positive, leaving many students thoroughly disappointed.
Though the damage is done, students implore DCS to reevaluate some of these choices, hoping that the new diner will gradually come to fit their needs.