President Obama said it, and now I will say it: “change we can believe in.” I do believe that change is a good thing. However, when it comes to the changes that dining services has implemented, I believe there are some challenges with Union’s now newly renamed Hospitality program.
The overall quality of the food itself has improved significantly. There are much more healthier options to choose from in Upperclass Dining Hall, West Dining Hall, Dutch Hollow and the College Park Hall Kiosk. My biggest quarrel is with the changes in Dutch Hollow.
I truly never had a huge problem with Dutch Hollow in the past. To give you some background, I am senior here at Union, and I have tried different dining plans. My go to plan has been the Block-30. Thus, I have eaten frequently at Dutch Hollow. Beginning this year, the challenges began to arise, particularly at Dutch.
First, the wraps were way too small. To charge someone the same price for a large and a small wrap is ridiculous. I, along with other students, voiced my concern to the management and comment board at Dutch. Thus, soon we had large wraps again. I am happy with that; however, I have noticed the changes are temporary.
Soon we had small wraps again until fully switching back to large wraps. More challenges arose along the way. Dutch has gotten rid of the always amazing chipotle mayo. They have replaced it with chipotle ranch/salsa which is a sad substitute. Therefore, I went along the comment board route as most of us do.
Then, they brought chipotle mayo back for a few days, and it soon it faded away again. So my journey continued to management where I pleaded for them to bring back the chipotle-mayo. I was given the OK; however, I never saw it come back.
There is another challenge I would like to bring to light: charging 55 cents for sour cream and salsa as sides. That is insane and highly unreasonable. The cost of attendance to Union College this past year was $67,547.
Therefore, that extra 55 cents does end up hitting our declining pretty hard as some students struggle to pay for Union each trimester and virtually survive each trimester financially.
Another challenge is that gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options need to be labeled better and in larger letters. For example, if there is bacon in a soup (which there often is) and it is not labeled with bacon, and someone eats the soup without knowing it, they could be violating their culture, religion or dietary restrictions unbeknownst to them until after they have tried the soup.
The new hot meal option next to the soups is sadly not always hot. I had some of the coldest mashed potatoes the other day. I have also had several options that have been cold in weeks past. That should be pretty easy to fix; however, I figured I would mention it now as well.
A major challenge that I feel needs to be addressed is that the eggs in the morning are no longer made to order. Scrambled or over easy are pre-made and sitting in a container for a long period of time. Then, the egg sandwich, or egg meal is put on the panini press to be made warm.
That method is simply lazy. I understand as far as serving the student population it is more time efficient to have pre-made eggs; however, some students would like made to order eggs from the grill.
The panini presses themselves are highly unnecessary as well. They are a huge waste of money because not everyone wants their food “paninied” all the time. They would like fresh hot food from the grill.
The wraps taste much better and crispier from the grill than they do being pressed on the panini press. Again, generally the food has improved; however, I and other students do not feel heard if we want certain food preparation practices to go back to the way they were at Dutch.
I have exhausted the comment board route, and I spoke to management directly. I have decided to write publicly about this in order to try and get Union College Hospitality’s attention. I do not feel like we are treated as students at Dutch anymore, instead we are customers who will voice their opinions about the changes, but management will not fully listen to us.
Nickel and diming us for side sauces is ridiculous because I know it will only expand from there to charge us extra for little things. I welcome a meeting with Union College Hospitality and I have the following suggestions.
Send out a survey to students bi-weekly of what they like at the different food stations and dining halls and what they feel could be improved. Put a section on the survey that says “additional comments” that students can write any additional thoughts they have regarding the food or food services.
The survey can be anonymous or students can choose to sign their names and e-mail addresses. Hopefully I have gotten Union College Hospitality’s attention.
Please provide me and other students with some changes we can truly believe in, to quote President Obama once more.