On-campus dining services are an often overlooked yet vital part of life as a college student. With COVID-19 continuing to affect the lives of many people, meal options and the availability of staff members have been impacting universities across the country. Willamette is one of many schools that have chosen to change its on-campus meal services, and students have mixed opinions regarding the decisions that have been made.
Those who still go to Goudy on a regular basis have noticed a decrease in the quality of the food provided, especially compared to previous years. Hannah Jones (‘23) commented on this, saying it’s gotten worse “by a noticeable amount,” and that “it’s not that the food quality is horrible, it’s just in comparison [to previous semesters] there’s a lot less variety.”
While he agreed with the sentiment on variety, Ted Alberon (‘23) shared a different view. He claimed that although there was certainly a greater lack in variety, he noticed that “quality-wise, it’s been improved from last year.” Because of the lack of options available, however, he felt that he was getting an overall worse experience at Goudy.
Another area of concern for students when examining dining on campus is the desire for further accommodation in terms of dietary restrictions. Lauren Redcay (‘22), although sharing that she thought the current food system was decent, said that she would appreciate having different options. She shared, “I’ve been relying on [Goudy] a lot, and I haven’t been able to eat that much food because I get sick really easily from different kinds of food.” It is in this respect that adding more options to each meal, with the health of different students in mind, would benefit students’ physical wellbeing.
However, one resource that Willamette has planned to implement to make dining on-campus easier is an app that would allow students to order food from their phones and then pick it up at a certain time. Though Alberon thought this feature would be particularly useful, “especially [for] lunch lines when they get super long,” both Jones and Redcay had other thoughts. Both agreed that there was a lack of any significant instruction on how to use this function that Goudy provided students with. This isn’t to say they wouldn’t use it, however; Jones said, “I would use it, but I honestly don’t know how to do it.” Redcay provided further insight, saying: “I’ve never received information, to my knowledge, of knowing how it works. But I think that’s a good system to have, especially for people who might not feel great.”
Although some students are conflicted about Goudy’s lack of variety, they’ve also agreed that a decrease in quality would be understandable. Jones said that “given the circumstances, they’ve been doing a great job,” and that “you can always rely on the same things every day, which is really nice.”
Redcay also showed concern for the safety of Goudy staff members. When asked about whether or not she thought food services should be improved, she stated, “I would like for them to improve, but given the current circumstances, like I think, honestly, even the fact that people are even just coming into work and coming in to serve students in this environment, and cook for students in this environment, is a lot for them to do in the first place.”
In addition, no interviewees have noticed all that many complaints surrounding Goudy thus far. When asked about whether or not he thought Willamette was under pressure to improve their food services, Alberon stated: “I don’t think so. I don’t think Willamette’s been under a lot of pressure because I haven’t heard complaints about the food quality so far.”
Redcay said that as an RA, she has heard complaints from her residents about the food offered. However, she personally tries to be considerate given the circumstances: “Yeah, I don’t like the quality all of the time, but I try to come from an understanding viewpoint. I’m just kind of happy to have food.”