Food is an essential part of every student’s college experience. While food service may not make or break college life, it definitely affects it. At C.W. Post, ease compels most residential students to eat most their meals in the Winnick Student Center. Sentiments about the food range from good to terrible.
“It’s not so much the food, as the people who work there. Some of the people who work in Winnick just do not give a crap and cook it poorly,” said Freshman Eric Holloway. “For instance, sometimes I wait around Jimmy, the pizza guy, because he makes remarkable pies. I wish that everyone cared about their job as much as him.”
Some college dining services go the extra mile to ensure the caring to which Holloway refers. A feature piece in the Daily Beast lists the best college dining services in the country, and ranks the service at Oregon State University as the best in the country.
The Beast describes how one OSU student wrote a column that complained about the lack of spicy chicken in the cafeteria. Reportedly, the dining services at OSU contacted the student personally, a few hours after the piece had been published, to inform the young complainant that a buffalo chicken wrap had been to the menu of all the dining facilities at the university. According to the head of OSU’s dining services, Rich Turnbull, this is an expression of his staff’s overall commitment to customer service.
One could of course make the case that it is unreasonable to compare C.W. Post’s dining services to those of a state university. The sheer economic power of a state university could explain why its food maintains an exceptional quality.
Babson College is of a size and economy that is more similar to C.W. Post. An unlimited meal plan at Babson costs about $2,200, which is only $100 more expensive than C.W. Post’s equivalent plan. Even though Babson students may have to pay slightly more than their peers at C.W. Post, it is unlikely that they complain.
Last year, the Babson dining services place top ten in the University Business Magazine’s Dining Halls of Distinction program. On the college search engine, Collegeprowler.com, reviewers have given dining services at Babson an “A-.” Even the student government association at the college speaks well of the dining services. “The friendly staff, the variety and quality of food, and the impeccable service make every meal a real pleasure,” said then-SGA President John Campbell.
Back at C.W. Post, few students expect Winnick to earn any awards or distinctions. In fact, it often seems that many students are content with leaving a few acid remarks on the Winnick comments board every now and then. These comments are often rude and unconstructive, and disregard the fact that Winnick has improved its services during the past year. Open hours have been extended, nutritional information is available for some meals, and some new culinary creations appear from time to time.
Though, there is one important factor that has not been addressed. The C.W. Post freshman, OSU’s head of dining services, and Babson’s SGA president all mentioned the same thing: Service. It would be a gross exaggeration to claim that the Winnick staff is rude. Indeed, some of the staff is very service-minded and polite. But then there are the rest those who give rude looks to students who ask for something extra, and those in the staff who let their favorite students pass ahead of the line. “It is not as easy as you think,” said the managers at Winnick when asked about the questionable conduct of some staff members.
Easy or not, do not C.W. Post students have the right receive a service comparable to that of other schools? Should they have to satisfy with a sub-par dining experience just because it is not easy?
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