By: Marissa Cubbage
For the past six weeks of the semester, something in Baker refectory has changed almost daily. The coffee and tea station was moved just outside the dining area, so the Juniata community does not need to pay for coffee or tea anymore in Baker Refectory. Where the coffee and tea used to be stationed inside Baker now sits two types of fruit/vegetable infused water.
Senior Phoebe Harnish, who lives off campus with a limited meal plan, affectionately calls it “spa water.”
Junior Mason Biehn, who has the middle-sized meal plan, is among the students who are fond of this change in Baker. “The infused water is a great addition; that’s what I drink every day,” Biehn said.
The spa water fills brand new blue plastic drinking cups, which is yet another addition to Baker. “Since the cups are blue, when I am drinking I do not think about if they are dirty or not. I can drink in peace,” junior Francesca Ferguson said.
Right next to the infused water is a new dessert display case with three or fourshelves teeming with desserts. Junior Cat Neville appreciates the dessert case because, “it doesn’t attract flies near the desserts anymore.” However, other students are concerned that the new display case is slightly more difficult to maneuver when your hands are carrying other plates of food.
Other small, but noticeable changes include separating the soup from the salad bar, resulting in an expansion of the salad bar.
Some changes are much more substantial than new drinking cups or dessert placement. The previous food station, Mongolian Grill, where customers could select vegetables,, meat, rice, and noodles to make a personal stir-fry, is now called the Global Food Station. It has a daily, pre-made international course which provides less options for students than the made-to-order stir fry. “I like how they are trying to diversify the food, but the stir-fry was a good vegetarian option and you had a lot of choice in your dish. The new Global has less choices,” junior Allison Rizmondo said.
Although there is less choice at the Global, more choices have been added to the Italian station. Customers can now handpick ingredients to make into a pasta toss. Senior Hannah Blackburn appreciates that “the pasta no longer tastes unpalatable and gummy.”
An entirely new food station has been added to Baker that provides mostly vegan/vegetarian dishes. Junior Liz Lor is a frequent partaker in this new station. “I see effort being made for vegan and vegetarians. Sometimes the food there is yummy, sometimes not,” Lor said.
As far as food safety is concerned amidst these changes, Sodexo at Juniata College passed its food safety inspection with zero violations on Aug. 28 of this year.
Although Sodexo management conducts surveys every semester to gauge students’ opinion of the dining experience and take students’ comments, this semester’s changes are quite more drastic than those of recent years. Why all these changes at once? “Changes were made in the hopes of trying to make the program better for students and all guests,” said Sodexo manager Hal McLaughlin.
When asked if there are more changes for the dining experience in the future, Hal responded, “I don’t know for sure. We have proposed some changes to the school but have not heard back on which direction, if any, they would like to go.”