INFOGRAPHIC COURTESY OF MORGAN HUBER / SNAPPER
A survey released by editors of the Snapper staff reveals that Millersville students have diverse tastes and strong opinions on their dining experiences, both on and off campus. The short survey asked students about their favorite place to eat on campus – The Anchor, Cove, Galley, Upper Deck, Evergreen Cafe, Starbucks, or Avenue C – and their favorite restaurants off campus, with popular locations including Sugar Bowl, Sheetz, and China Wok, among others. In addition, students had the opportunity to express their opinions and provide feedback on their dining experience.
Although content with the options available in Millersville, students were not afraid to express their concerns regarding the quality and availability of food offered within the campus’ dining halls. The most frequent complaints included variety, transparency, and serving dietary needs.
The various dining halls and cafes on campus provide a multitude of food and beverage options, ranging from sandwiches to pasta, pizza, coffee, and grab-and-go drinks and snacks. Some believe, however, that more variety is needed, especially in contrast to what was available in pre-COVID times.
“They need to stop serving the same things every day,” says student Julia Glatt. “It gets very repetitive and we need change … Bring back the smoothie bar and fresh sushi, those were great! Also what happened to the carving stations, burrito stations, and sandwiches at the Galley? Even the breakfast for dinner nights last year was good.”
One of the most controversial decisions made by Dining Services this semester was changing their sushi options. Prior to this semester, sushi was served in the Anchor, made fresh by on-site chefs. Now the chefs are gone and instead students are left with thawed premade rolls. Rumors persist that the staff hired to make the sushi either quit or were dismissed after requesting higher pay, however, this is unconfirmed.
“I think it was a terrible idea to get rid of the freshly made sushi on campus,” says one student. “I know that many students loved that sushi and it sold out almost every day so I do not understand why they would get rid of it.”
Others who filled out the survey suggested that Dining Services and the university be more transparent about decisions made regarding food options.
“I wish they would inform students on decisions,” says student Michael Burns. “Then I wouldn’t buy a meal plan for sushi only for the school to get rid of it and I’m stuck with the rest of the poop food.”
For many students, the dining halls’ operating hours are inconvenient, opening late and closing early, forcing those with early morning or late-night classes to eat off campus anyway.
“The Nutrislice app barely works half the time, and isn’t any better than having the menu in the Millersville app,” says student Nikolas Pappas. “The times that the different places close is honestly terrible. I often get out of class very late and have to go off campus for food when I’d rather use the meal plan I am already required to have. I also think it’s insane that if you have a weekly meal plan, you just lose every meal swipe you don’t use.”
Another concern raised was the lack of options for students with dietary restrictions. A number of those on campus are vegetarian, vegan, have allergies, or are otherwise restricted in their diet for religious or health-related reasons.
“The vegetarian options are a disgrace,” says a student named Allison. “This university has done nothing but revoke every restrictive-diet inclusive option on campus. There is no longer vegetarian sushi or veggie burgers at the Anchor … If you don’t have time to wait, you get to eat buttered noodles for the 10th night in a row. I’m paying a thousand dollars to be malnourished.”
“I think there needs to be better options for people with chronic illness,” says another student. “Most of the food is so oily and greasy, it makes whoever eats it sick. Even the ‘healthy bar’ is still pan-fried in oil. My only safe foods on campus are pre-packaged things not made by Dining Services. If I eat food in the dining halls, I am sick all day. ”
Whether their comments were negative or positive, students nonetheless took advantage of the opportunity to let their voices be heard. By providing feedback and keeping the community updated on available dining options, the quality of food both on and off campus maintains hope of improvement.