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College Dining: New and Flavorful Options

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I come from a very food oriented family. We owned, operated, and lived above a deli in New Jersey where everything that we served was homemade. To this day, I have dreams about the food.

So, you can imagine my shock and dismay when I was sitting in the café of my college during my freshman year and saw a box of ground meat delivered to the kitchen that said “Fit for human consumption.” Is that the loftiest goal that the kitchen personnel could strive for? No wonder why the burgers there tasted like nothing I had ever eaten before.

The more I explored the food on campus, the more wary I became. Admittedly, this was a number of years ago, and on-campus dining options have changed. Vendors have been introduced to the college campus dining scene, so you can now get your Subway, or McDonald’s on campus instead of leaving campus, losing your primo parking space to go through a drive-thru. But is that the loftiest goal that you can reach for?

That being said, colleges cannot be lumped together when it comes to dining. Many colleges, such as University of Massachusetts, Lowell and Simmons College in Massachusetts have stepped up to the plate and transformed their stale corporate dining services into a veritable gourmet dining experience with made-to-order meals and sauté serving stations.

Examine the dining options at your school when choosing where and how to dine. Is the cafeteria line an endless sea of processed food that is robotically refreshed and “prettied up?” Are the vendor options the most healthful? You may want to search off campus for “unique” dining experiences.

Food establishments in college towns often rise to the occasion and step in where dining services in the college left off. For instance, if your college is lacking a vegetarian or vegan option for diners, than there may be a restaurant off-campus that specializes in those options. It would be a grave mistake to rely solely on on-campus dining without looking around at what the surrounding towns or city has to offer.

Remember, students vote with their wallets, and if you are not pleased with the dining options at your college, let them know, one way or another. Local establishments will be more than happy to serve the local students who are on a quest for nutritious, quality food!


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