Each fall students from around the country return to their universities with great expectations for the coming year. Old friends and renewed freedom await, but often students give up one of the most underrated aspects of returning home for the summer – good food.
GW students are no exception to that rule, as GW’s meal plan has been the center of many student complaints in recent years.
Continued student requests for a menu with more variety and more home-style options have been met with changes this year. GW’s meal plan now offers six new dining options.
They’re awesome, said Mike Gargano, assistant vice president for Student and Academic Support Services. I think (the new options are) going to be much more accommodating to students. Just the whole customer service aspect, I think, has improved.
Starbuck’s coffee station has replaced J Street’s Viva Java to add better coffee service to the University’s meal plan.
Cranberry Farms now serves rotisserie chicken and other hot food for lunch and dinner at the Dawn’s Best breakfast station. Dawn’s will continue to serve breakfast in the morning.
GW will also add more sandwich options to the J Street 1821 Deli.
The basement of the Marvin Center hosts a second grocery store, Provisions Too, which offers meals prepared by GW Dining Services. Provision Too is next to Jamba Juice, in the unit originally set aside for student entrepreneurs.
Also located in the Marvin Center basement, Einstein Bros. Bagels, one of the three largest bagel retailers in the country, has replaced Pretzel Time.
I thought the prices in Einstein Bagels were more than reasonable, Gargano said. I noticed for a turkey bagel was $4.25. That’s actually cheaper than when I go for the same kind of sandwich at Au Bon Pan.
The University plans to add a display-style cooking station in the center of Thurston Dining Hall that will be similar to the pasta and Asian food options in J Street’s Pangea station. The new concept will offer a four-week rotating menu and will not replace any other food options in the freshman residence hall. Dining Services officials were unavailable to comment on the progress of the station.
Hunan Peking, a Chinese food option, is also scheduled to return to the Thurston Dining Hall Saturday nights.
Three fast-food options, Burger King, Chic-fil-A and Taco Bell, were added to GW’s meal plan last summer. Although these stations attracted the most customers, they also faced the most criticism from students who want more home-style cooking and healthy options – complaints University officials said they hope to remedy this year.
Sophomore Carla Fuentes said she approved of the changes.
Real Starbucks, real bagels and the Cranberry farms chicken all looked really good, she said.
Despite the changes some students continue to be displeased with the content and quality of food service on campus. After spending last year abroad, senior Aaron Bernay said he was surprised at all the changes.
They really turned (J-Street) into a mall food court, he said.
Other students said the changes are a step in the right direction for GW.
Senior Candice Kenny said, with the addition of Einstein Bros. Bagels, We can be a real college town now.
-Ashley M. Heher contributed to this report.