As an international resident on campus, I have to eat all my meals in the dining hall. From Monday to Friday, when all of the residents are on campus, we are offered three meals per day and usually the food selection is fine. There are normally different options, some meat and fish, two or three vegetarian choices, rice or pasta, just to cite a few. However, on the weekends the opening hours of the dining hall decrease and also they offer less variety of food selection. This is hard on students that must stay on campus.
For students that decide to stay on campus over the weekend, and especially for internationals that do not have the option to leave, eating in the dining hall on Saturday and Sunday can be an unpleasant experience. First of all, because the dining hall does not open until 11am, they only offer two meals a day. Also, because there is not enough variety of food, there are only half of the options that you can find on a week day. And most important, I have conducted research among some international students and not only do they agree on these facts, but they also feel that the fruits and vegetables offered over the weekend are not fresh. This reduces the options they have available to eat on the weekends. Other international students have claimed that this can be even worse for vegetarians because there are even less vegetarian meals served.
The dining hall staff needs to think about the residents who stay on campus on the weekends and offer healthier food, more choices, and more vegetarian dishes. They need to refill the fruit and salad bar on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning so that we will have fresh fruit and vegetables until Sunday evening. Finally, they also need to think about the hours of operation, maybe by offering a small breakfast service before 11am.
I understand that on the weekends there are less people using the services of the dining hall, therefore they have to cook less food. However, wouldn’t it be better to cook less amount of food for each dish and offer more choices? I also see that doing this could involve a financial cost for the college, but I think that this issue could be resolved in several ways. For example, in order to provide a breakfast service before 11am, the dining hall could open a quick-service kiosk with coffee, juice and breakfast supplies at a reasonable cost for the students. They could also install some more vending machines around campus and use the money gained for this purpose.
Some of us, as internationals or residents without car, have no other option but to stay on campus on the weekends and visit the dining hall for our meals. We don’t have regular transportation to go off campus to get food, and we don’t have a family to go on the weekends. If the dining hall makes these improvements in the future, not only will they have happier students, but healthier ones as well.
Ana Berenguer Carbonell
Spanish Teacher Assistant