Feeding First Years: Dining Services Adapts to New Class

Students+are+beginning+to+use+the+food+cart%2C+a+new+dining+option+located+in+the+Underground%2C+in+order+to+avoid+the+long+lines+in+the+Dining+Hall+at+lunch.
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Feeding First Years: Dining Services Adapts to New Class

Students are beginning to use the food cart, a new dining option located in the Underground, in order to avoid the long lines in the Dining Hall at lunch.

Students are beginning to use the food cart, a new dining option located in the Underground, in order to avoid the long lines in the Dining Hall at lunch.

Students are beginning to use the food cart, a new dining option located in the Underground, in order to avoid the long lines in the Dining Hall at lunch.

Students are beginning to use the food cart, a new dining option located in the Underground, in order to avoid the long lines in the Dining Hall at lunch.

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The Class of 2019 brought 733 students to campus this fall, marking the largest class Dickinson College has ever enrolled. To brace for the high volume of students, the office of Dining Services has invested in new equipment and expanded dining spaces.

The most drastic of these changes can be seen in the Underground. There is now a food cart that serves hot options, and the seating area will be redesigned in the next few weeks. This area will serve as an extension of the Dining Hall, serving three menu items from the Dining Hall menu that day, and is able to seat 300 students per lunch period to deal with potential overflow of students. The food cart is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Huffman and his staff have also updated equipment in dining facilities across campus. New high-speed grills and ovens were installed in the Quarry and Union Station over the summer. Huffman says that the new equipment cuts cook times in half and uses less energy.

“[They’re] doing a great job of making burn-your-mouth-hot sandwiches,” Huffman said.

Additionally, a new expediting station seeks to speed up the serving process in the Union Station. Customers place their grill and deli orders at a single location with the expeditor, who writes the orders down on reusable laminated order sheets.

This fall, Dining Services also introduced the Mai Bowl, a new menu item in Union Station. This customizable stir-fry makes use of a previously underutilized grill. The popularity of the new option has also increased traffic and demand.

“Apparently it takes really long to get the stir fry,” said Willa Hut ’17. Given these larger crowds and the training of new staff, Huffman predicts it will take 3 to 4 weeks “before we have everything settled in.”

Over the summer, a new dishwasher was also installed in the Dining Hall. The new system has a higher capacity and efficiency and uses less water and electricity. The original wall in the dish return area was removed, which “was to address congestion issues with the KOVE, because [there was] a lot of overlap between the two windows,” according to Huffman. Now, customers in line for the KOVE will not be in the way of those trying to return their dishes. The change will improve flow of traffic in the Dining Hall during peak hours.

Huffman does not think that there will be any unusual problems due to the large class. He said that during the peak hours of Orientation week, the average service time in the Dining Hall was 6 seconds per student.

On the whole, students seem concerned but optimistic about the state of the Dining Hall in the face of a large student body.

“I was expecting that it was going to be a lot more crowded than it is, so I am satisfied,” said Mackenzie Johnson ’16.

Caitlin Doak ’16 agreed.

“The caf lines have been longer than usual, but [Dining Services] has been handling it really well…you can find a place to sit,” Doak said.

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