Out With The Old, in With The New: Changes Come to Campus Dining Halls

By Analeigh Hughes

If you’ve eaten at the South Campus Dining Hall or The Diner this semester, you’ve probably noticed a big change in the daily assortment of food.

The pasta station, which was previously available for lunch and dinner during the week, is only available two nights a week. During lunch and the other three nights, the dining hall is trying out a crepe bar.

This change is just one of many that have followed a common trend.

“We look at the satisfaction with and the number of people we were serving at the pasta stations and that declined,” said Bart Hipple, the Assistant Director of Communication for Dining Services.

“If things stay the same too long, they get used less and less over time and then it’s time to make a change.”

There was a significant decline in pasta-station-usage from Fall 2016 to Fall 2017, according to Hipple. Dining Services then decided to try out new options with that space.

Crepes are a growing trend in food service and are featured in the dining halls of many other universities. Hipple said that dining services also wanted to see how they could use pre-existing equipment for the new station.

Pasta-lovers need not fret. Aside from still having the station two nights a week, Hipple says that the tortellini and ravioli pop-up special will occur every two weeks, and there will always be a pasta dish offered somewhere in the dining halls.

The feedback about the new change has been generally positive. Hipple said that they are noticing an uptick in pasta station usage on the two days that it is in the dining halls and that Dining Services has only received one negative comment so far.

“It’s pretty great because it adds variety into the UMD dining plan, so it’s not like eating the same things every single time,” said junior communication major Quan Brooks.

Alex Wang, a senior public health major, is also enjoying the newest addition to the dining hall.

“It’s sweeter, it’s better than the pasta,” he said.

Wang also said that he thought that the pasta station was better when the dining plans used the point system instead of the all-you-can-eat model.

“It was a good amount for the price you paid.”

In the long run, Hipple believes that it is important to make changes to options in the dining halls every semester if the university wants students to continue having meal plans past their freshman year.

“With change, there is always some loss,” Hipple said. You can’t just keep everything and expand and expand.”

Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of the University of Maryland Dining’s Facebook page.

Analeigh Hughes is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at analeigh@terpmail.umd.edu.



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