By Jax DiEugenio
Entering the second semester of the academic year, students were granted their long-anticipated opportunity to return to campus. In the midst of a piercingly-cold 3-day-long winter storm, students trudged through snow-covered paths to receive some of their first meals of the semester at the Eickhoff dining hall.
Seeking a dry space and a meal, they were met with an altered dining experience with Covid-19. While the smaller scale Library Cafe, Student Center and Education Cafe have committed to social distancing in order to keep students safe, the main dining center in Eickhoff Hall is taking extra precautions, sticking to a protocol that’s best to provide students with a safe dining experience first.
The implementation of The College’s new Waste Watch Reusable system in Eickhoff Dining Hall has students feeling discombobulated, having been met with long lines, confusion and disorganization when trying to receive meals during the first week of classes.
While many students have physically moved onto campus, College life is led by Covid-19 safety protocols and regulations in Roscoe’s Pledge. The balancing act of providing safe and effective accommodations in this atmosphere has left students feeling out of their element.
Further exemplified in a phone interview, freshman business student Courtney Dellerba mentioned how the lack of knowledge obtained by students has made their dining experience confusing. Regarding her first experience on campus, she said, “I definitely expected it to be better, considering they had so much time to plan for this.”
Reflecting on many students’ widespread feelings of a lack of preparation, Dellerba went on to explain, “I thought the system was very unorganized and they don’t offer us a lot of options to eat, either.”
The dining hall’s Waste Watch Reusable protocol is integrating a coin system, in which students are able to return their reusable tupperware containers upon entering or exiting the dining hall in exchange for coins. This has also been a major point of confusion for many students.
“I did not expect the container/coin system and I also did not expect the line outside the door in the cold and snow for thirty minutes… I thought they could have handled both situations a lot better,” Dellerba said.
Sharing a similar opinion, freshman HSS major and Class Council Secretary Ryan Lin said, “I feel as if the coin system can be improved, as I can not imagine circulating physical tokens is hygienic given that we are in a pandemic.”
Many students feel that the coin system in place is not only dated, but unsanitary in the midst of a global pandemic. They feel that the use of an ID card would be both simple and effective in lieu of the system.
“Personally, if I could improve anything it would probably be the coin system,” Lin said. “Maybe utilizing our IDs to keep track of the tupperware in lieu of the coins could help reduce contact.”
With the primary goal of maintaining a high standard of safety for both students and faculty, the College’s intentions have been expressed in a campus-wide email from Dining Services General Manager, Kieth Murray, “…in order for the campus to remain open and safe, it is imperative that students follow all campus safety policies. It will take all of us to make this work and the best way to do this is both to follow the policies ourselves and encourage our friends to do the same thing.”