I’ll say it. I’m sick of chicken sandwiches.
I’m sick of the big three Fairfield foods: chicken sandwiches, chicken tenders and wraps—probably the chicken caesar salad wrap. Potentially pizza depending on the day.
When I first came to Fairfield, the amount of food choices was praised, especially with the food trucks that are behind Loyola Hall every day. I was told that there would be seven food options: the Daniel and Grace Dining Tully Commons, the Stag Diner, the Levee, the food trucks, Sushi Do and the Dunkin’ and Starbucks on campus. The food was something I was nervous about coming into Fairfield, mainly because this would be the first time I was essentially living off of mass-produced food, but hearing the options, I assumed I would be fine. But I got sick of it within a month.
I give the Tully credit for having variety, but also for having staples like the pasta and grilled chicken that is always in the back by the Main Ingredient station. First-year Fiona Killeen comments on the lack of variety and rotation of food options. “I would love to see more options and rotating meals, especially at the Tully.” She continued, “I understand why they would have fan favorites such as pasta and chicken fingers every day, but why not substitute those for something different?”
The Stag and the Levee—honestly, the food trucks as well—are where the repetition lies. The Levee offers mainly hamburgers and grilled sandwiches, along with pasta and pizza, which is where it differs from the Stag. But you could also just get pasta or pizza at the Tully too. A majority of the food trucks are the same form of chicken tenders and sandwiches, which is why I personally love when food trucks like Tasty Yolk or The Plate come in. They offer something that none of the other dining options at Fairfield offer, like Acai bowls and egg sandwiches (yes I know the Tully has egg sandwiches, but you don’t see those everywhere like you see chicken tenders).
The Stag offers a salad station, then a station that offers mostly chicken sandwiches and chicken tenders, and finally a wrap station. First-year student Ava Hanley said that “the Stag is probably the best food option Fairfield offers. It does have the same section of chicken sandwiches and fried chicken, but the salad station is a source of variety as well as the wrap station.” Near the registers at the Stag, there’s more variety of snacks to go with the food you’ve gotten … but wait. They cost dining dollars, which leads me to my next issue.
Any time you look for any diversity in food choices on campus, you have to use the grand old $100 of dining dollars we get per semester. Now, to someone who isn’t a college student, this seems like a lot. I certainly would have thought so before I came here. But this number dwindles throughout the semester if you choose to seek out anything different than the main menu items.
Even something that looks to be different such as Sushi-Do, anything that has variety beyond the three main sushi rolls you can get, costs a painful amount of money, about $12 each. Some people don’t have issues with the number of dining dollars we receive. I have friends who haven’t spent a single dining dollar but keep in mind they’re also considerably more content with the menu of food we get on campus. However, as someone who is now borderline nauseated by the idea of fried food, I think we deserve more dining dollars.
I spoke to a few friends of mine from different colleges about their meal plans and dining dollars and I was amazed by what they were getting. A friend of mine from Roger Williams in Rhode Island receives $400 in dining dollars and my sister, who attends Wellesley College in Massachusetts, doesn’t even have dining dollars, they have points, but they’re only used on coffees. She doesn’t have to worry about money in order to receive a variety of food on campus, she can have whatever she wants whenever. A friend of mine at San Diego State receives “debit dollars,” which is like dining dollars, but you get a certain amount per day, in their case, $29. I think that plan sounds certainly fairer than rationing off $100 a semester. $29 a day could get you three meals from anything that’s not the traditional meal plan. I know I would prefer that system of dining dollars for sure.
Something new that I didn’t know before writing this article is that The Levee is also being renovated at the end of the year, meaning that we have one less food option for about a year and a half. I suppose the idea is good, but that leaves even fewer food options for students. I was disappointed to hear this because while I think their menu is repetitive, their food is some of the better quality on campus.
“I like the Levee … I think it’s good food, but I absolutely think their menu should be revamped a bit. I think seeing a late-night menu with different options would be cool,” stated Hanley. This makes me a little nervous for next year, considering that I already find difficulty in getting different food options.
I myself don’t have any allergies, but I have heard from friends of mine that do, that the process of getting food on campus is considerably worse. Despite the Tully having an allergy restriction section, some students find that they are restricted to the small menu that the Tully offers. First-year Ava Jadul, who is allergic to both dairy and gluten, commented on her experience. “There is a lack of options around campus. I can’t eat a single thing from the Levee so it isn’t very accommodating.” She further went on to say that she doesn’t think it’s fair that students with allergies often have to pay more of their dining dollars and money to be able to get the food they can eat. “In the sushi station, I’m allergic to all of the meal swipe options, so I have to pay real money any time I want sushi. This is the same when it comes to gluten-free bread.”
If the allergies section offers something that doesn’t interest the student, sometimes they can’t get anything else due to the risk of cross-contamination and not being able to get anything else at the other Fairfield dining locations. I can speak to the fact that when I came to Fairfield, I was trying to be a Pescatarian for environmental concerns, and I was told by my parents to wait until college when I had more food freedom. I dropped this plan almost instantly after I couldn’t have much within the Tully and at the Stag and Levee.
Ultimately, the lack of food choices has made me resent the idea of getting food on campus, which is a problem because food is a necessity! Certainly, we are privileged to have dining halls and food trucks that provide us with food, but all I’m saying is that there should be more of a diversity of food choices at places other than the Tully. I think Fairfield has the right idea of providing different places we can get food … but the menus certainly need an upgrade.