Spring has sprung and so has the Barone Campus Center Marquee on the BCC green. As mentioned in a previous article by The Mirror, the tent is being used as a temporary dining option due to advancements made on the construction of the Barone Dining Hall, which will be renamed the Tully Dining Commons upon completion in Summer 2017.
As students took to the tent for the first time, the diners expressed a variety of reactions to their new dining conditions. According to Assistant Vice President of Administration and Student Affairs Jim Fitzpatrick ‘70, most students provided positive feedback for the substitute dining hall. Other students did not enjoy their dining experience.
Sophomore Daniel Kadragich understood why there had to be an alternate dining area, but felt that the tent did not meet usual standards.
“It is fair to say that students would be more unhappy if the new campus center was not completed upon their return to campus next fall,” said Kadragich. “While additional meal swipe hours at the Stag and food truck tickets help compensate students for the inconvenience, the selection of food was underwhelming and the quality of the food was relatively poorer than what is offered in Barone. There is also less seating available.”
Fitzpatrick explained that while the tent is the new option, it is still up for improvements if need be.
“This is a work in progress. In 47 years, I haven’t done anything like this and neither has Sodexo,” said Fitzpatrick.
In addition to the dining hall, Einstein’s Bagels and the BCC Mezzanine will also be blocked off due to construction until May 1. As the Mezz is a popular place for students to do homework in peace, it created a dilemma once it was removed.
“The Mezz was a place I studied and did homework a lot so now that it’s closed off, I went to the [Lower Level of the Barone Campus Center] but it’s much louder there and there’s way more traffic passing through it, which makes it much louder,” said Marissa O’Donnell ’18.
Other students are more sympathetic toward the new construction and feel that it is worth it to make sacrifices now in order to have improved eating conditions later on.
“I actually don’t mind to be honest. They feed me, I can’t complain otherwise. I’m willing to take a step back and let them build more for the sake of future classes,” said Brendan McCarthy ’20.
As underclassmen can’t have their car on campus and are required to participate in a meal plan (the standard meal plan is 14 swipes a week plus 100 dining dollars), these students are concerned about the amount of money they will be spending on food and transportation.
“I’m not allowed to have a car on campus so this is really my only option for meals. Unfortunately, there are no food options at all and what they do have is really unappetizing. I will definitely be ordering in more, which is a waste of money considering I am already paying for a meal plan,” said Lauren Lovarco ‘19.
Kadragich echoed Lovarco’s statements and suggested that students who don’t plan on dining in the tent should be compensated for the meal plan. However, Kadragich noted that “On the contrary, one must recognize that there is no easy way to accommodate everybody, just as many people would complain that they had to order their own food and not have it instantly.”
Fitzpatrick understands that the elimination of usual services including the wrap station, the omelette bar and stir-fry station may create an issue with students. While this may not be the ideal dining option, Fitzpatrick added that the administration is providing additional services. These services include a to-go box option which is usually only available during finals week, an additional meal swipe program at the Stag Snack Bar from 8:30 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, food trucks for Mondays through Thursdays and a meal swipe option for the Levee.
“We felt like those options would take a challenging situation and demonstrate to the students that were being creative and address their needs,” said Fitzpatrick.