Bauhinia Chen ‘26
Oct 6, 2023
The revamped dining hall layout has been a hot topic for debate. The new arrangement has introduced double-sided buffet lines, and a deli and panini station, made flow changes to beverages, rice bar, and soup stations, and consolidated the salad bars the center aisle. Students and faculty have expressed mixed opinions about these adjustments.
Bill Korhammer, the Director of Dining Services, explained the incentive behind them: “We wanted to provide a better dining experience for the community. What’s nice about the two main lines is they have hot sections at the front, and the back sections can either be hot or cold... We also introduced more sauces. The salad bar was dropped from two to one because of the lack of space. I know that it is probably the biggest contention. Everybody says the line is long. In my opinion, I don’t think the lines are horrible, but I understand that it might be infuriating to wait when you are in a rush. However, I think it was a necessary sacrifice for a better overall experience.”
Some embraced the layout’s novelty. Director of Global Programs and Chair of the Conduct Review Committee Justine O’Connell said, “I think it’s nice because it’s something new. Trying something different is helpful because you can always return to another if this one is not working. I like how there are two main lines, and I think it’s cool that you can go right to the line to fill up for family-style meals.”
“I think the pros are that there is a more centralized place to get food. That way, you don’t have people weaving through tables to get to the salad or deli bar. You also have more access to refills and pasta… I think it was a worthwhile change,” said art teacher Sarah O’Leary. “I love that we added some new machines to improve the diversity of food,” said Emily Tan ‘24.
Some community members, however, do not see the advantages. “I like the old system better. It was easier to get food. I find it harder now that everyone is going to one line. I’m also not sure I like the idea of the pasta mixed with the main food,” said Brendan Daly. “I don’t like how the salad bar is in the middle because sometimes it can be confusing. The space is quite crowded,” said Amon Yamamoto ‘26. “The biggest con is the salad bar. It is often empty, and the line is too long. I don’t know if there are any benefits to this layout,” said math teacher Jeff Cohen. Language Department Head Benjamin McNeil was of two minds: “The new layout was difficult to get used to because I had to search and think about where everything was. I think some of the changes make sense. Not quite sure about others. If it helps the dining hall staff to do their job more effectively, I am certainly in favor of the changes.”
As students and faculty acclimate to the dining hall’s new system, the Meriwether Godsey staff also wish to receive constructive feedback. The layout is still in its formative stages and subject to refinement as the dining services crew strives to provide the best experience for the community.