Food poisoning. 20-minute lines. No available tables. These have been the realities of dining options at UR both this and last semester. Once Danforth’s closing was announced, a new dining option arose: GrubHub. With GrubHub partnering with the University to use declining as a form of payment, the shift among the student body was noticeable. Outside every residence hall was an array of restaurant bags, no matter the hour. However, it wasn’t perfect for everyone.
For example, first-year students are required to have meal plans with unlimited swipes and more limited declining, which made both the Pit and GrubHub mostly inaccessible. With Douglass as the only traditional dining hall last semester, it was overused and understaffed. The hours were limited, especially early in the semester. The dinner hours were from 5-8 p.m., so for everyone in my chem lab section (that ran from 4:50-7:50 p.m.), dinner at the Pit was the only option. Eventually, Douglass extended their hours until 9 p.m., but after 8 p.m., most stations were closed anyway. The school attributed most of the dining problems to staffing shortages. However, UR could surely have offered higher wages as an incentive to prospective employees (which they eventually did).
As of Feb. 14, a significant change was made — no more GrubHub. As a first-year, I’ve been lucky enough to always have GrubHub as an option. It made my life easier when I had a super busy day or when I just didn’t feel like eating from the dining halls. So, along with most other students, I was incredibly disappointed to see it go.
The issues that plagued Douglass haven’t completely changed. Even now with the opening of Danforth and Grab & Go, most dining stations have a significant line. Once you get your food, the trouble isn’t over. There is extremely limited seating, especially now that the faculty lounge has been closed. Some students have even resorted to standing while eating. Also, the food safety and quality is often subpar. My friends and I have been served undercooked chicken on multiple occasions. Many people have also gotten food poisoning from the dining hall, the most common culprit being orange chicken from the Wok. These are issues that UR has failed to address over the past several months. No one should have to deal with a lack of food on campus, much less the fear of getting sick from the dining hall food.
Also, although dietary restrictions are common, the dining halls do not sufficiently accommodate them. Vegetarians often have to eat proteinless meals of rice and vegetables. Students who are Kosher can only eat meat from the Kosher station. The dining halls cannot support most students with dietary restrictions, who have had to heavily rely on GrubHub.
As it stands, without GrubHub, UR suffers from a shortage in food accessibility, especially compared to what it was with it. GrubHub bridged the gap between what dining halls could and couldn’t provide. Without this extra option, I have serious doubts that the dining halls will be able to accommodate the student body.