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Students discuss food options in The Commons

First-year student Annie Cummings is among a group of students who are dissatisfied with the variety of food options available in The Commons, one of two places on campus for students to eat.

“I believe more options would be nice, especially if they were of considerably better quality,” Cummings said.

Makenzie Speakman, a member of the volleyball team, agrees there should be more options.

“Because I am on the volleyball team, I have to stay on a diet, which excludes fried foods. However, many of the foods are Marbeck are fried, so it seems like there aren’t that many options that are volleyball-friendly,” Speakman said.

Along with special diets for athletics, some students face a gluten intolerance, which requires them to find gluten-free foods. Dana Motter, the director of The Commons in Marbeck, said he believes many improvements are underway and encouraged students to reach out with suggestions and feedback.

Dalton Eversole, an exercise science major, has a very specific request. 

“I believe that Marbeck needs to offer more gluten-free food. There are many choices, but most of the choices have gluten in them,” Eversole said. “This makes it hard for people with this intolerance to find different foods to eat. Most of the time, it has to be the same food so that we don’t get sick.”

Beasley

Leslie Beasley, a social work and special education major, said she believes Marbeck could offer other cultural options with their meals.

“Although I believe that Marbeck has made some improvement with their varieties of food, I would definitely suggest bringing in more cultural variations,” Beasley said.

Stephanie Fox, a first-year student, said she thinks Marbeck could bring in different foods each week to bring more variety.

“If Marbeck had more options or changed the food that was served every week, students would enjoy it more,” Fox said. “There would be more [choices].”

If Marbeck made these changes, and used these suggestions, one might assume the price for meals could increase. Students’ opinions differed on whether they would pay more for more food options.

“I’m not sure if I would. If they offered higher quality food with more options, I might consider paying more for the food,” Eversole said.

“Yes, if the food was considerably better, I would pay more,” Cummings said.

“If the food was much better, I might, but I am leaning towards saying no,” Speakman said.

After hearing about these complaints and suggestions, employees and the director had other opinions on the lack of variety in Marbeck. Allyson Fuqua, one of the new employees hired this year, looks at the problem from a different perspective.

“I see that [the issue is] recognized by the staff here,” Fuqua said. “I see everyone on the staff working hard and coming up with ideas to widen the options, as well as keeping the students who eat here happy, healthy and well-fed.”

Motter pointed to improvements with the Main Line and the Grill, specifically the burgers and fries. Work continues, he said, to respond to student feedback.

“We are also taking a look at the survey we have students fill out, and are working on making the suggestions we found possible [actually happen],” he said.

Additionally, Motter said that if anyone has a suggestion, they can always talk directly to him, since he always likes to hear what the students have to say.

“Looking ahead, we are taking into consideration different ethnic foods. The most popular is Chinese, so we’re trying to find a way to make that work,” Motter said. “However, if anyone has anything specific they want to suggest, they are always welcome to come visit me in my office. I am always willing to take suggestions.”

 

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Danielle Easterday

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