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There’s a new Danforth on campus!

And no, I’m not referring to the space defined by alien-green furnishings and blown up photographs from the Rochester “Office of Tourism” now at home on the first floor of the Susan B. Anthony Residence Hall.

UR’s new Danforth instead refers to what was known by its previous moniker, Douglass Dining Center.  To honor the oh-so-exciting start to classes, let us begin with a “Definitions and Terms” review session à la River Campus. For all those in the Class of 2014 and older, Danforth (noun) is often followed by a resigned sigh and can be defined as a large, grungy dining hall best known for its weekend brunches and the aching stomachs that often follow unsatisfying meals.

On the other hand, Douglass (noun) can be stated in a more affectionate tone to refer to the dining hall holding the much more satisfying Kosher Deli and wrap stations, to name a few of the classics.

This summer, students prepared themselves for the magical opening of the new Danforth and, upon returning to campus, it appeared that “Danforth,” in its traditional use, no longer described the new space. But, lo and behold, the term remains a part of Rochestarian vocabulary due the school’s unexplainable destruction of the once acceptable (at least in campus food standards) Douglass.

Here are a few “unexplainables” being voiced around town: the number of entrees has diminished drastically — in fact, the selections are just plain weird, including a bizarre homemade version of a Starbucks-esque cake pop during Orientation week. The Kosher Deli is a mere shadow of its former glory (where are the numerous options for bread and toppings and sides, oh my?), and the wrap station no longer has a station or even a shadow at that.

In addition to the poor food options, one of the most ridiculous changes is the lack of accessible exits and entrances by the former Corner Store and Bookstore stairwell. These doors were our second tunnel system! During the extremely rare days of cold Rochester weather, the Corner Store entrance provided a slightly closer yet still important escape from the cold for pedestrians. And the location of swipe machines into the dining hall now prevents tunnel access to the Bookstore (if the glass covering from Wilson counts as a tunnel). The swipe machines, a seemingly small obstacle, effectively form a stone wall barricading dedicated daytime studiers or big groups, stuck on limited meal plans, from camping out at a Douglass table for hours on end.

Redoing a dining hall for the better (with the necessary inclusions of Go Green! mantras and healthy-with-a-question-mark food options) is a welcome — and expected — change on any college campus.  Changing a dining hall for the “un-better” is simply inefficient and frustrating.  Fortunately, Rochester linguists have nothing to fear in the near future. Though the location has changed, the Danforth name lives on, continuing to conjure up memories of unsatisfying meals. At least they salvaged the fake milkshake machine for the Hillside Market.

Karp is a

Take Five Scholar.



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