Union Hospitality has done a stellar job, but changes can still be made

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If you’ve been at this school for at least as long as I have, you know that there have been many changes made on this campus. One of the most notable and positive changes that I have seen is the change in dining distributors. When we made the switch from Sodexo to American Dining Creations, I was hesitant. Getting sick just about every day my freshman year due to the low quality and sometimes even moldy or insect-ridden food that we were forced to eat, I didn’t think it could get any worse. After looking at the other schools that use American Dining Services, my hopes were low. However, coming back to school in the fall of 2016, my friends and I saw a noticeable change in the quality of the food. “I actually enjoy going to Upper now,” a phrase we never thought we would say. From the quality of the ingredients to the actual preparation and the variety of options, I’d say the food went from a -3/10 to a solid 7. Chef U is one of the newer features that has gotten a great deal of attention. Not only does it give you the option to customize the ingredients that are given to you at the station, but you can literally go and take any food from any other section and turn it into whatever you’d like. My favorite is taking raw kale from the salad bar and sautéing it with garlic powder and oil. Another more recent change to the dining program is the all-day breakfast at Dutch Hollow. I can’t even tell you how many times it happened these past few years that all I wanted was a bacon, egg and cheese for dinner. Almost everyone that I have talked to said that they now always have a go-to meal when they don’t know what to get at Dutch because breakfast never fails.I think that if I could make one change to the dining services as a whole, it would be to have an all-vegan stand in Reamer. Yes, it is possible to eat vegan at O3 and even Upper, but the options are so limited that people who are vegan aren’t getting the nutrients that they need unless they buy food themselves. Every time I ask a vegan that I know at Union College if I should try it, they tell me to do it, just not here at school because they spend so much money buying the essentials of what they need for their diet. At a school that prides itself on being inclusive to every type of person, having a section to get food that is solely vegan would mean that every person would be able to eat on campus without needing to go grocery shopping every week. Having an area that’s all vegan ensures that people with dairy allergies, which is the second most common food allergy in adults, can be positive that their food is safe, because right now the only food that is 100% safe is the allergen station in Upper and West, and if you’ve seen it, the options are very limited. Now I am not saying the food is perfect, because when you think about it, mass produced anything, especially food, isn’t going to be even close to the quality of anything hand-made. However, with the current progress and the investment in an all-vegan option in Dutch, I think Union College will have an inclusive dining program that students will enjoy and be excited about. So, props to Union Hospitality for the progress!

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