Upon opening the doors to Frank Dining Hall this year, hungry students are ostensibly transported into a new age. Gone are the archaic soda machines of 2012 that forced students to mix different drinks in order to obtain their preferred beverages, replaced by shiny Coca-Cola dispensers that offer a seemingly unlimited number of flavors. And no longer is Frank plagued by a poor, outdated lighting system; it now boasts a combination of neon blue lights and exotic lamps that bring a retro, Johnny Rocket’s atmosphere to Colgate, minus the waiters on roller skates. Finally, Frank’s new espresso machine is nothing short of a blessing, giving students with 8:20 classes a reason to make a quick pit stop before rushing to class. These new updates warrant plenty of excitement and certainly are an unexpected bonus for returning students. This being said, were these actually the best possible upgrades?
These noteworthy aesthetic upgrades bring with them higher expectations for what actually brings students to Frank – its food. Although its hectic environment pegs it as a place to socialize, when it comes down to it, Frank is a cafeteria and should be judged by the quality of its food. Unfortunately, when I chomped down on one of Frank’s still paper-thin cheeseburgers, I could not help but feel disappointed, leading me to conclude that Frank’s decorative gains did not translate into content. No number of bright lights could change my taste buds’ indifferent response to my first meal. Certainly it was nice to wash it down with a funky, new type of Powerade, but these minor advances will most likely not convince me to cut down on my O’Connor Campus Center (COOP) visits or Slices phone calls.
In retrospect, there appears to have been other, more beneficial improvements that possibly could have been made in lieu of those chosen. After speaking with a series of athletes, there appears to be a general consensus that there is a meat deficiency at Frank. Sophomore cross-country runner Cody Hawkins said, “It would be nice to have a more reliable assortment of meat after a tough practice,” and also cited the lack of nutrition in the already existing meat options. There is no clear, unanimous answer as to how Frank should proceed, but a more nutritious meat selection to accommodate students would make sense. There is certainly a case to be made that Frank’s material improvements are equally as valuable as a hypothetical pizza upgrade. Frank’s pedestrian offerings no doubt make COOP trips all the more special, and the various more-gourmet options around campus such as the Edge Caf?e give Frank some leeway with its consistency and number of options. However, the neon lights and ornate drink machines seem like attempts to compensate for an average selection of food and my gut (or rather, my stomach) tells me that a better variety of meats or fish would have been a better, more worthwhile investment. Frank’s improvements this year are laudable, but hopefully they are just the beginning and a sign of things to come.
Contact Drew Hagerstrom at [email protected]