Fairfield University seniors have seen it all. Together, we have witnessed Fairfield in one of its most raw and vulnerable forms: pre-renovation. Even knowing that years of construction were going to take place during our quick, four-year run at Fairfield, we still loved campus anyway. Us Stags were hopeful, looking forward to witnessing the gradual progression of campus taking place before our very eyes and eager to see what new improvements would be developing while on our daily walks to class. Not only did seniors have the chance to see campus before its dramatic glass building takeover as first-years, but the class of 2020 has also continuously witnessed the ever-changing food options this campus has had to offer. Flash forward to four years later, and the food options at Fairfield are still in desperate need for improvement. 

Seniors were the last Fairfield class to remember the Barone Dining Room, the dining hall that preceded the Daniel and Grace Tully Dining Commons. I, a senior myself, recall enjoying the warm, comfortable and inviting atmosphere of Barone, with its orange, yellow and green color scheme and circle tables that were great for eating at with friends. Three years ago, this dining style dramatically shifted to the cool, modernized, waiting-room aesthetic of the Tully, containing square and rectangular tables, cold grey-blue chairs and with its unique fruit-infused water concoctions lives up to its desperate attempt to be trendy. 

Seniors, although we did not know it at the time, had the small privilege of having food swipes in the Stag – veteran Stags remembering that this meal exchange policy only took place between 1 to 4 p.m. on class days. Although the meal exchange did not take place during the time slots when the average person is typically hungry, the hours were obscure enough that it prompted unique bonding time for underclassmen without cars because most first-years and sophomores were free and looking for activity on campus during these interesting times. Chances are, if Stags wanted a change of pace from the dining hall, or didn’t have anything better to be doing on his or her week night once they left their night turbo, you would find them and their friends in the Stag for meal exchange. 

Looking back as a senior who was once sitting in the same seat as the current underclassmen, probably-undernourished and living on cereal for days, the meal exchange option was not perfect, but at least my class had the option as first-years and sophomores to utilize the exchange. Fairfield students now have the option of eating at the Tully, the Stag – although now deprived of meal swipes – and the new Micro Market that has meal exchange, but only from 8 to 10 p.m. on Mondays to Thursdays. Ah yes, another totally realistic time for students to eat on campus. It’s also important to note that the first-years from last school year were stripped of their right to participate in the meal exchange program in the Stag solely for no reason other than having first-year status, and now with meal exchange being non-existent in the Stag this school year, the now-sophomores are being stripped of it again.

Who knew four years ago was the peak of dining at Fairfield? Stags need more realistic hours to get food, better food choices from the dining areas available on campus and meal exchanges in the Stag reinstated. It’s time to step up the food game and listen to the student body, Fairfield. The growling of four thousand hungry stomachs shouldn’t last forever, and it will speak volumes.

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