Blue and Gold dining troubles: There must be a better way — Editorial


David O’Brien, Managing Editor

Header Image: USA Restaurants

After a few weeks of tackling major university changes and the internal politics of the institution, the editorial staff has decided to take a step back this week and discuss something very near and dear to our hearts, and the hearts of the student body: food. La Salle’s on campus population is large and while it does not represent our entire readership, it represents nearly all of our editorial staff, so please allow us to vent this week about the slop La Salle passes as food.

One of the most often-heard complaints around La Salle’s campus revolves around the dining hall. This week the editorial will attempt to address what problems La Salle faces surrounding dining and some possible solutions that will allow the University to resolve them. 

The decline

At the beginning of last semester, it was said by many students that the Blue and Gold Dining Commons was better than ever. No more crusty, run down Beeg, but rather something new, something that had quality. The conveyor belt was fixed, there were no longer rats running around and the food was amazing. Yet, it seemed that this fame was short-lived. Weeks after, the quality of the food significantly went down. Rather than providing high-quality meals, Beeg started pushing out low-quality, mass-produced food that had very little to no taste and had often been sitting for hours. While Beeg is better able to manage the dinner time rush, the quality of the food (including taste) has been greatly sacrificed. The removal of condiment stations, the constant breakdown of drink machines and a general lack of quality have all become trademarks of B&G. For those reading this that aren’t on campus students, B&G is currently the only available traditional university dining hall option at La Salle after the conversion of TreeTops Cafe into a COVID testing site.

One of the major problems with La Salle dining is the constant use of food products that are bound to have poor quality in any dining hall setting. B&G should not have a fish option, end of story. Students do not expect food at La Salle to be great quality, they are not asking for organic grass fed beef or fish flown in from the coast. However, there are certain foods, like fish, that need to be good quality in order to be consumed safely. Since the fish at B&G is typically of low quality, many students are fearful of getting sick from it, and it might as well not be served. This editor does not think any student would or does complain if and when there is not a fish option being served.

Now, time for nitpicks

La Salle dining should not push these bizarre meal combinations. There is no reason for there to be hamburger patties on rye while chicken sandwiches are on hamburger buns. That simply does not make any sense whatsoever. People like both chili and pasta, this does not mean they like them together. People may like to experiment, but overall, students like simplistic meals. 

The majority of the time, the person running the burrito station is unable to properly wrap the burrito. It is not too much to ask that the person working this station learn how to properly wrap a burrito so it does not all fall out immediately. This very basic idea that is not too much to ask would drastically improve the quality of B&G dining.

Throughout the 2021-2022 school year, B&G has progressively removed amenities, two of which include ice cream and condiments. While removing ice cream is somewhat understandable due to the weather, many students have found this incredibly frustrating because ice cream is a very predictable dessert which the consumer knows what they are getting every meal. At the beginning of the fall semester, B and G had a plethora of condiments to choose from, but now the options are often only ketchup, mustard and maybe mayo. There is no obvious reason for this shift. The students miss hot sauce, buffalo sauce, honey mustard and other options that have been taken away. Condiments are not very expensive and go a long way when it comes to the dining experience. B&G should bring back ice cream and condiments because they radically improve both the bland and more erratically bizarre meals served in the dining hall.

Why it’s important

According to a study from the American Psychological Association 41.6 percent of college students suffer from anxiety disorders. Additionally, sources ranging from Harvard University to BBC News have stated that poor nutrition is a primary cause for stress. So, while this may seem like a petty callout, we genuinely mean it when we say that this editorial needs to be put out there just to show the student body that they need to speak up to get better, predictable food options, not just to be more comfortable, but to take one more stressor off their plates in this time where stress comes from seemingly every corner. We know students who will actively skip meals if B&G is their only option, particularly during exam season, which is just unacceptable. If B&G was improved, not only would college students be healthier and better fed, but campus-wide mental health issues could also decrease. 

The University should not only improve B&G for the sake of students’ diets and nutrition, but also for their mental health. We are not asking for La Salle to change its budget to give us more expensive foods. We are not even asking for wider varieties of foods. We are just asking for basic changes that would drastically improve the quality of life for the students both physically and mentally. A proper diet is necessary for good health. It is hard enough to maintain one with all of the stressors of the post-COVID world — the least the school can do is provide food that is actually edible for the students of La Salle.

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