COVID-19’s Ever-Changing Landscape Brings About New Changes For Dining On Campus
Donovan Wilson – Reporter
COVID-19 has turned the world into a fluid system of change and the campus’s dining services are affected as well.
One of the many changes brought about by COVID-19 unto the campus has been a continued drop in enrollment. Providing dining services the way they have always been provided becomes more difficult with less students taking advantage of these services. A lot of the changes brought about by these predicaments started during last semester which was the first in-person semester since COVID-19 began.
“How we live nowadays has changed so naturally so has how we run the dining services,” said Anthony Deluca, the general manager of dining services.
All of the decisions made for how the dining services will be running this year were made by Sodexo (the dining company) in conjunction with the school. The decisions that were made were made based around a multitude of things but mainly including traffic patterns and the amount of students in one place at certain times during the day. This is all a direct result of the amount of students in-person and in return, the amount of classes in-person as the amount of faculty on campus also affects the decisions made.
The entire first week of this semester was a full quarantine for all on-campus students. For that reason, Connecticut hall was not open for dine-in until February 1st. During that time, grab and go was the only service that was made available to students from the dining hall.
The dine-in procedure has remained the same from last semester as state guidelines have not changed. Seating has remained at a lower level to continue to combat COVID-19. The grab and go procedure has also remained the same as the usage has gone way up and it makes sense to just keep things the way they were.
“We decided due to lack of traffic to keep the Owl Perch in the library closed this semester,” said Elizabeth Floyd, the
Traffic to the Owl Perch last semester was much lower than usual and with continued decreased enrollment, continuing to go down it made sense to not even open it this semester. However, the Dunkin’ in the student center will remain open.
“I normally eat dinner a little later so I’ll have to adapt to the new schedule,” said psychology major Andrew Keeton, a senior.
The student center was open until 7:30 p.m. for food last semester, but food vendors and Dunkin’ will both now close an hour earlier at 6:30 p.m. The time difference isn’t necessarily huge but it is valuable information to know for students who ate in that 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. time slot.
All of the changes made to hours and what is and isn’t open can be found online. This could either be through the dining services section on the university website or on any of the dining services social media. Eating is a huge part of life on campus and it is important that this information be readily available to students.
Students may take some time to adjust to the new way of dining on campus, but everything is being done to ensure everyone has easy and especially safe access to food.