Campus dining options need improvement

By Mia Ingui

I’m always hungry on this campus.

No matter what dining option I choose — out of the few places to eat at the College — I am always unsatisfied with my meal. Worse than that, I’m always still hungry. If there is one complaint I have about the College, it is that the dining options need improvement, and fast.

Let’s begin with Eickhoff Hall. It is great that there is a dining hall on campus that students can access as many times per day as they would like, but I leave Eickhoff undernourished and unhappy every time.

Though the dining hall has a decent number of options, there are only a select few that, as many students at the College have discovered, are remotely edible. It is difficult to serve a college that has more than 7,000 students, all with different tastes and dietary needs, however, grilling a few more pieces of chicken isn’t difficult.

Traditions is a sit-down dining option on campus. (tcnj.edu)

Then there is Traditions. This is a decent option, I’ll give it that. It’s nice to go to a sit-down restaurant every now and again when I have the time, and the food is not bad. But the service is slow and the menu is limited, which gets frustrating.

The revamped Lion’s Den offers some decent options, as well. Admittedly, I love the sushi, but the Lion’s Den is usually way too crowded to traverse during meal equivalency, and getting lunch could take more than half an hour. Students just do not have this kind of time to waste in the middle of their day.

There’s also the Education Café, which is overcrowded during meal equiv and carries a lot of the same unfilling options, as well as the KinetiCart in Armstrong Hall that is mostly convenient to engineering majors.

The last two dining options are the Library Café and T-Dubs. The line at the Library Café is always out the door, and T-Dubs is not open for meal equiv.

So, there you have it: our unimpressive, on-campus dining options. None of them really focus on healthy, fresh options nor are quick and efficient. None of them are consistently good every time.

Over in Campus Town, there’s more food at Mexican Mariachi Grill, Yummy Sushi and Panera Bread. Hold on, don’t get too excited. Even though there are some great dining options over in Campus Town, any food purchased at these dining establishments is not included on our meal plan.

This may be the most unfair part of dining. Waving great places to eat right under poor, unsuspecting college students’ noses and then ripping it away. The cruelty.

I am a paying, enrolled student, and I can’t understand why the Campus Town dining options are not included on our meal plan. According to each college’s website, Temple, Rowan and Rutgers universities all have outside dining options near their campuses, such as Dunkin Donuts or Pizza Hut, that take “points,” or the allotted amount of money on students’ meal plans. All of the campuses include a main dining hall, but chain or locally owned eateries cater to college students and accept their meal plans.

Why can’t we do that?

I understand that Campus Town is considered an “offcampus” entity, but that is the case at the other schools, too, and all of them still accept student’s meal plans. That’s just the right thing to do. Campus Town should find a way to better accommodate its main population of customers: students here at the College.

Coming from a big Italian family, the one thing I miss from home more than anything else is being well-fed. There’s a loaf of Italian bread in just about every corner of my house. I would love for our college community to be able to treat themselves each day to a great meal without worrying about money or points, and to be full, nourished and happy.

A decent meal is a necessity, and I really think that the students’ laments on dining should be heard, acknowledged and acted upon.