Dining Services have undergone a number of changes this year in an effort to highlight strengths of the menu and improve the usefulness of the mandatory meal plans.

“We were trying to do too much with the resources we had [last year],” Director of Campus Dining Services and Auxiliary Operations Cam Schauf said. “This year we are doing what it makes sense to do.”

Some of the changes include putting pizza in The Pit all day, rather than switching from the Miso station during the day.

Schauf argues that this reduces confusion among students as to when items are available and reduces down time at that particular station.

There is also an expanded variety of pizza and related items such as rollettos, personal pizzas and focaccia dippers available at the Pit’s Bene Pizzeria counter.

“Putting pizza in Wilson [Commons] improves the wait at the grill,” Schauf said.

Instead of being offered only during certain hours in Wilson Commons, Miso is available at all times in the Douglass Dining Center, as is a new Smoke House station featuring a barbeque. The Tortilla Fresca station at Douglass was expanded as well.

“The changes at Douglass are nice,” sophomore Nate Robbins said. “It seems like there is more variety, although it would be nice if the stations could change every now and then so you don’t have to rotate through the same couple stations all year long.”

Douglass is now open until 8:30 p.m., half an hour later than last year. Danforth Dining Center is open until 8:30 p.m. and is home to a new grill and deli bar, as well as lower prices at the door.

“We are trying to have the greatest variety and highest quality at the same time,” Schauf said. While UR sets the standards for what foods are used, Schauf claims they are looking to improve quality.

Efforts to improve the nutritional quality of the food include expanded vegetarian options and a new Organic Zone at the C3 Convenience Mart in Wilson Commons. Schauf contends that it is possible to maintain a healthy diet on a campus meal plan by eating diverse items and having everything in moderation.

“We are also expanding our educational programs for students in conjunction with University Health Service,” he said.

“Even at our young age, eating right is important,” sophomore Jason Greenman said. “I’d like to see some low sodium options to balence the highly processed lunch meats.”

Changes have also been made to meal plan usability. Many of the restrictions on club meal usage have been lifted. These changes include all day use in Wilson Commons and unlimited daily club meal use, rather than last year’s policy of four per day and only during certain hours.

“Last year I had a ton of club meals left over at the end of the year,” sophomore Dave Brais said. “I am glad that I can now use as many as I want during the day and at any time of the day. The change in policy will probably let me use all of my clubs by the end of the year rather than be forced to waste them like last year.”

Declining balance can be used for all edible items at the Corner Store and the Common Market. The primary aim of the operational changes made by Dining Services has been to have lots of options everywhere.

“There is enough for you to feel stressed about in college that eating shouldn’t be a stressful experience,” Schauf said.

Bruml can be reached at abruml@campustimes.org.

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