The freshman scoop on dining halls
Walking into Caesar Rodney Dining Hall, I looked around at the lustrous, ultramodern metallic design and began to to wonder whether I was in a dining hall or an astrophysics space ship project. In just its second year of operation, Caesar Rodney Dining Hall is showing no signs of a sophomore slump as the hall constantly is teeming with students. I jumped from food planet to food planet, experiencing Mongolian cuisine, Italian dining and even making a brief refueling stop in vegan territory.
But, among all of these attractions, I had to keep my one mission in mind: to discover how freshmen feel about their dining experiences so far.
Amidst my intergalactic Caesar Rodney travels, freshman John Winters shared his thoughts on the experience. Coming from a prep school, Winters says he’s “a little weird” due to how similar his school dining background is to what he’s seen in college.
“[In high school] they went all out with private dining and stuff like that,” Winters says. “So it’s not too different, but this is great.”
Winters is satisfied with university dining, resolute in Caesar Rodney being his favored place to eat.
My quest then took me to the neighboring Russell Dining Hall, perhaps best described by the word “funky.” As a slap bass infused rendition of Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” filled the room, I walked into an atmosphere designed to make anyone feel at home. Enjoying dinner in the carpeted comfort of Russell, freshman Jenna Connelly felt that the relaxing eating environments at the university have helped ease the transition into college.
“It helps me meet new people,” Connelly says. “Especially the first week because you can go and sit next to someone.”
While she admitted to the benefits of Russell dining, Connelly’s preferred setting still is Caesar Rodney.
Next on my journey’s itinerary was the daunting trek to our campus’s northernmost reaches: Laird Campus. Doubting my physical ability to walk there, I nonetheless set off and encountered some fellow freshman wanderers along the way.
Enjoying a peaceful afternoon study session, freshman Isabelle Cohen commented that she appreciates the nutritional aspect of the dining halls.
“You’re eating, so it helps take care of a physiological need,” Cohen says.
Her friend, fellow freshman Becca Ralston, chimed in that the she often finds herself frustrated with the locations of utensils, particularly spoons. Ralston also happens to be a vegetarian, citing an instance in which misleading meal labels led her to accidentally get a spaghetti meal containing meat.
“It was just the bare noodles that were vegetarian,” Ralston says, going on to say that the dining halls are overall very accommodating, and that knowing there are vegan options around offers more security. When asked about their favorite dining hall, the two didn’t hesitate to say Caesar Rodney.
I continued my travels, and, after a hike that would help anyone fend off the freshman fifteen, I arrived at Pencader Dining Hall. With its second story vista, wood finish ceilings, spacious layout and unparalleled salad bar, Pencader offers a hip twist on college dining.
Enjoying a meal with friends, freshman Naomi Williams-Cole suggested that freshmen invest in the unlimited meal plan.
“It’s better to be full than starving,” Williams says, also saying how welcoming and kind the Pencader staff are. When Williams was asked about her favorite dining hall, the whole table turned and responded with a unanimous “Caesar Rodney.”
And thus, my culinary adventure concluded. While most freshman appear to see value in all three dining halls, the consensus is clear: Hail Caesar (Rodney).