New caf draws heat

Changes to George Martin Hall’s cafeteria prevent students without meal cards from entering unless they pay a flat fee. Despite the changes Wyn Gruffydd with Food Services says any discomfort is temporary.

“We were the last hold out that didn’t move to the all-you-can-eat system,” said Gruffydd. “(Now students) can come browse and eat what they want … They don’t have to worry about money.”

The new system is all-you-can-eat based, where students swipe their meal cards or pay for each entry into the cafeteria and then can eat until their heart’s content.

The way the cafeteria is set-up has also changed.

The Grill now serves only one menu item for each of the meals of the day. The wrap station has also decreased its daily menu size, and there is a breakfast area to get waffles and fruit.

Each meal card now comes with 500 flex dollars which can be used at other locations on campus.

Gruffydd said he’s happy about how the transition between systems is going, and says he believes the food has even improved.

“We’re very very happy,” said Gruffydd.

Gruffydd said one of the problems they saw students run into repeatedly in years prior was not budgeting their meal card money, running out and having to call their parents asking for more. He says this system should help prevent that.

But for some students, it’s not the food in the cafeteria that necessarily matters.

Marissa Scott is one student who is not happy with the changes.

Scott doesn’t have a meal card and says the cafeteria was the best place to meet people to talk, especially professors.

“It gives a lot of people not much of a chance for socialization,” said Scott. “It was really easy to meet people (in the cafeteria) before class…When I was in first year that was where I met every upper year student I knew.”
She said the fact you have to pay to go in will separate the first year students and the upper years, as well as on campus students and off campus.

“The only ones who will be in the cafeteria will be the ones who don’t have to pay to go in,” said Scott.

Gruffydd said this new system doesn’t make sense if all you want is a cup of coffee but said there are many other options, like Subway or Tim Horton’s, to get your dose of caffeine.

He said the space under construction on the second floor of the building should be opening within a month’s time and will allow students without a meal card the chance to sit down, eat a snack, drink coffee or meet a professor.

While Scott said the idea of the open space upstairs is good, she would still prefer if she could get food upstairs and then go eat in the cafeteria downstairs.

“I think the sitting area should be conjoined but where (students) get their food shouldn’t,” said Scott.

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