By Meredith Howard | Staff Writer
Let’s face it—no college dining hall food will live up to your favorite family recipe. But there are still some things that could be improved about Baylor’s dining halls.
One thing that can be frustrating about the cafeterias is their mid-day closures and limited weekend openings. A simple solution to this would be to provide continuous service from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (or later) with meal options changing while the service is operational. Penland’s late-night service should also be open on Fridays.
Options for those with dietary restrictions
I can’t speak for people with allergies, but as a vegetarian, I know what it’s like to feel somewhat limited when deciding what to have for lunch. Baylor does have some meals to choose from (veggie burgers, beans and rice, salads, etc.), but a greater variety would be nice, as more of the traditional options could be made vegetarian.
For instance, most of the pasta offered is not vegetarian. Even if it doesn’t contain sausage or chicken, it often has parmesan cheese, which is not vegetarian. I think it’s a good thing to have meat options for those who want them, but I would also appreciate a daily vegetarian pasta.
Now I can’t expect Baylor to make me eat healthily—after all, I’m not going to pass up on a Memo cookie. But one thing I would appreciate would be more fruit available for a longer period of time. I like to hit up Penland’s late-night hours, and it seems that the fruit is usually gone by the time I get there. A 9 p.m. restock would be a great fix for this. Another possible addition is falafel at Penland’s gyro and salad stations. This would be added protein that could be helpful for students to stay full longer. Additionally, more hot vegetables would be nice; they also seem to run out quickly.
One difficulty that I experience on a weekly, if not daily, basis is long lines at the dining halls. I understand Baylor can’t stop this overcrowding, but I think distributing popular food items more equally would be a start. For instance, I tend to frequent Memorial after attending Chapel. The flying saucer and burger stations generally have long lines, and I’ve waited upwards of 20 minutes to get lunch, sometimes after scrambling to even get in line due to all the students concentrated in that area. Granted, I could choose another station, like salad, and probably be out faster. However, I think moving the burger and flying saucer stations farther apart might help relieve this congestion.
Despite the discussed areas of improvement, there are many things I love about Baylor dining. For instance, the employees there are phenomenal. I can sleepwalk into Penland before my 8 a.m. class, and enjoy swiping my ID when I walk in because Stacey is so polite that she makes my mornings pleasant. Another amazing Penland employee is Elaine who makes the omelets. She makes me laugh while serving up the best breakfast option, which is much appreciated when I’m not happy to be awake.
Another great plus is Memorial’s gelato! It’s the reason I make the hike from my dorm across campus, and my only complaint about it is that its station closes before the cafeteria does.
One option to let Baylor dining know about suggestions you have is by utilizing the online survey Be Heard.
Overall, improvements could be made to the cafeterias, but we should still be grateful to all of Baylor dining’s amazing employees. We also can’t forget about our favorite experiences lunching with our friends daily, which is an experience most of us will miss post-graduation.