First-years have always come to Colgate with legitimate concerns about the food they will find at Frank Dining Hall. For the Class of 2014, traditional rumors about laxatives in the food are the least of their worries.
Instead, students stand in lines frantically checking their cell phones for the time as the beginning of their next class edges closer; it is a jungle of omelets, napkins and ice cream cones. If they do manage to swipe their ‘Gate Card and get a plate with time to spare, patrons of the dining hall will still be hard-pressed to find somewhere to sit down and eat. This is the current state at Frank Dining Hall, which was opened in the fall of 1984.
This year’s Class of 2014 is the second largest class ever at Colgate University with nearly 850 freshmen, which means that Dining Services will have to adjust their services for an unprecedented influx of students.
According to George Murray of Sodexo and Dining Services, Colgate added 75 new seats to Frank Dining Hall this year to accommodate the 100 or so extra first-years. In addition, the Cutting Edge Bistro, the innovative restaurant on campus, now offers a “Market-To-Go” option between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday where students can grab a quick lunch consisting of gourmet sandwiches, salads, soups, chicken and other lunch-time meals.
The Edge closed as a regular dining hall five years ago because it was not fully utilized by students. Currently, on average, about 130 to 150 students are utilizing the “Market-To-Go” lunch option each day to beat the lines in both Frank Dining Hall and the O’Connor Campus Center (the Coop).
To beat the dinner rush, Murray says 110 Broad Street is now open for dinner. Dining Services at 110 Broad serves the students in the Leadership Options For Tomorrow (LOFT) program, which ends up averaging about 50 students per night.
“While I agree with the statement that the dining halls are over-crowded during certain times of the day, I feel that the staff does a great job handling everyone’s orders quickly and efficiently. Without their expertise, the overcrowding situation would be ten times worse,” first-year Jonathon Glidden said.
Some students have navigated the murky waters of campus dining on their own, and have found their own solutions to the long-line dilemma.
“I think that with the dining halls, you just need to figure out a time that is a little non-standard to eat,” first-year Danielle Scheer said. “For example, if you go to lunch at maybe 10:30 or 11 instead of 12, you won’t have to wait for an hour to get your food – same thing with dinner. I haven’t been going to Frank for breakfast because I don’t want to wake up super early to get food though, so it’s helpful to keep some cereal or something in the room.”