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Consolidated dining options receive mixed reviews

Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor

The dining options in Morrill Tower have changed since last year, and not all students are happy about it.
The old Fresh Express dining location in Morrill Tower has been merged with the C-Store, a grocery store where students can pay for items with blocks, or the meal plan equivalence of $5. The result is a reduced menu of what has been recognized by University Residences and Dining Services as only the most popular items, along with additional items.
However, Morrill Traditions, an all-you-can-eat dining establishment, has expanded its service to be open seven days a week rather than its previous weekend-only hours.
Zia Ahmed, senior director of Dining Services, said there was not enough demand to operate three separate dining facilities, but the all-you-can-eat traditional style appeared to attract the most traffic.
“That’s a service that we know that our students prefer because we get a pretty high volume at both North (Commons) and Kennedy (Commons), and perhaps also that we have quite a few students participating in the traditional meal plan,” Ahmed said. “We wanted to make sure that we provide traditional style service at the tower district.”
Moriah Locklear, a third-year in pharmaceutical sciences who lived in Morrill Tower for two years, does not approve of the changes.
“I don’t really like that they’re restricting options,” Locklear said. “I think that there’s already so few things on West Campus and just kind of wondering if they still want people to live here at all if they’re taking away most of our options.”
Ahmed said the decision by Dining Services was not heavily influenced by cost, though the transition from three operations within Morrill to two meant needing fewer workers.
Since the semester began, there have been no major problems or significant comments in regards to the change in dining options, but Ahmed said he has been attentive to feedback.
“We’re being very vigilant about the returning students and their comments,” Ahmed said. “The main reason why we want to hear them is because if there are menu items in the process that we missed, that we’re not maintaining, that we had before, is popular, then we certainly have the flexibility to include that into the menu mix down the road, even within the semester.”
Victor Haynes, a first-year in material science engineering, is pleased with the extended hours for Morrill Traditions.
“I think it’s nice that it’s always open,” Haynes said.

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