Students enjoy new dining options, but fear future Scrounge construction
This fall semester, University Dining Services has implemented new changes to meal plans and on-campus dining halls, and more is on the horizon. Perhaps the most popular change has been the addition of a take-out option at Caesar Rodney Dining Hall. This option was originally only available in the Russell and Pencader dining halls.
Chris Varriano, a junior, said it is convenient that all three dining halls now offer take-out, especially since he used the option frequently at Pencader last year.
“I like it,” Varriano said. “I don’t like cooking, so it’s convenient.”
Additionally, for both students who live on- and off-campus, meal plans now include one meal exchange per day. During the weekdays, students can exchange one dining hall meal for one combo meal in the Trabant Food Court and The Scrounge, anytime between 8:00 and 11:00 p.m.
Emily Zinner, a freshman, said the meal plan accommodates her schedule well. She explained that, on days with a lab or exam note, late-night dining, which she can use her meal exchange option for, provides a variety of options available after 8:00 p.m., as it uses meal swipes rather than points.
Zinner said she also enjoys the new take-out option. Students can take as many biodegradable containers as they wish, which allows her to pack meals for the next day as well.
“I think it’s super convenient, especially if I’m running to a club,” Zinner said.
Any purchases made with points come with a new 10% discount. This discount applies to anybody purchasing items with points, and is also included with all meal plans.
Students can also use their ONEcard to purchase pick-up meals at on-campus restaurants through Grubhub. Students have the option of using both points and flex for payment; however, points cannot be used for off-campus restaurants.
Stephanie Gilreath, marketing manager for University Dining Services, said that student feedback was a primary motivation behind the changes. Every year, University Dining Services evaluates student responses to the meal plans through the DiningStyles survey. The Your Voice Counts survey also updates the university daily with student input. The data from submissions is used to formulate a revised model of campus dining.
Many of the changes this fall resulted from student opinions. Popular demand from last year for take-out at Caesar Rodney, for instance, led to the recent addition.
“Dining Services is excited that we were able to bring to life meal plan features and ideas that we heard students wanted,” Gilreath said.
Dining Services has already begun planning future development. Most notably, the university will introduce a new dining location on campus: The Nest. The Bleecker Street bistro, located in the Morris Library Commons, will be replaced with a coffee bar, made-to-go restaurant and a marketplace. The Nest is set to open toward the end of October.
In addition to the Nest, plans to remodel The Scrounge are set to operate soon. The general dining area will adopt a diner-concept and will include a marketplace. Dunkin Donuts will also be transformed into a free-standing coffee shop.
Some students, however, don’t see a need.
“I don’t see any reason to change and have to go through all of that construction,” Melissa Ginex, junior, said.
The Scrounge is a popular location for students to eat, study and socialize. Overall, students are concerned that the new renovations will change its relaxed atmosphere.
Joud Dabaj, sophomore, said she enjoys doing school work at The Scrounge, and will miss being able to go once construction begins.
“I hope I can still just come and sit and do my work,” Dabaj said.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article suggested potentially incorrect hours for the future Dunkin Donuts free-standing coffee shop, which have not yet been determined, and also incorrectly stated the scope of the new dining points discounts. The discounts apply to anybody using points.