Let’s talk about food

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By Sasha Zuflacht

Generally speaking, college campuses have never been known as a fine dining experience and they are nothing compared to a home-cooked meal. Not only is the food questionable, but the surrounding décor is as well.

In Upper and West we are crowded into a tight space, making common lunch hour treacherous. It is sometimes impossible to find a convenient place to sit and even harder to actually get to your destination. Tripping over backpacks, chairs and sliding in between tables is pretty typical. What happened to relaxing during a meal? Taking a study break to refuel and motivate? At Union, the dining experience is lacking.

I am no food critic; I’m not even an adventurous eater or someone that eats particularly healthy. My meal choices are pretty run-of-the-mill. Even so, I am never satisfied with a meal at Upper or a wrap at Dutch. Maybe I am biased because it is week eight and I have exhausted all my options on campus. Does anyone else feel the same way?

I find myself getting the same sandwich and making the same salad. I always feel crowded and rushed because the cafeteria is so chaotic. Sometimes all I want is a bowl of cereal, and even getting that is like an obstacle course. I am not the only one that feels this way, and that is my point.

There isn’t a day that goes by that someone isn’t complaining about the food options. Why are there elaborate dishes with fish and pork? Why not keep it simple? Not many students feel comfortable experimenting with the meat or testing new waters when the presentation is unsettling. It becomes a process in order to have a full balanced meal.

In no way do I want to undermine the hard work of the cafeteria administrators. It is not an easy task to make such a large group of students happy. However, they could maybe listen to our suggestions a little more.

I know several students who make a point to come up with ideas of their own and generate menus from other schools about dining options. Nothing seems to be working. People are frequently going off campus to get something fulfilling. Panera makes sandwiches and salads, but why is it so much better than anything we have on campus? Maybe it’s also the fact that you can get away for a meal.

At the same time, during the week, most students are focused on work and other activities before they are concerned about what their next meal will entail. We want something convenient and delicious, but we don’t want to feel sick after eating it. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so.

Paying for a private liberal arts education is no pocket change and we have earned the right to a decent meal.  Four years of our lives are based around this college campus. Our taste buds and stomachs shouldn’t suffer while we are writing a paper or studying for an exam. If anything, a balanced meal should help us feel better and motivate us to work harder.

Skellar works great for those late night eating binges, but otherwise it doesn’t suffice. Ozone does provide a great healthy alternative, but only on Fridays, and only for lunch. And even if you go to the Organic section in Dutch frequently, your account balance will dwindle quickly.

Literally and figuratively speaking, Union College needs to spice things up. We need, and frankly we deserve, better dining options.

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