We spoke, they listened, but to what extent?

Ashanka Kumari

When visiting a Bama Dining location on campus, many students might have seen a familiar sign that reads “You spoke, we listened” with some new feature or meal option promoted beneath. While waiting to have my ACT card swiped at the Fresh Food Company in the Ferguson Center the other day, I noticed Bama Dining’s most recent change to better our dining experience: wheat buns. Although a minor change, I’ll admit I appreciate Bama Dining’s attempts to make our meal plan more worth the amount of money we paid.

However, over my time at the University, I have found that these changes often only last for a brief period before things return to a previous state, which then prompts another brief change. While it is important for Bama Dining to continue improving the variety of food offered in the dining halls, they should work harder to make sure these options are served more efficiently as well as in a timely manner for those students who only have a small amount of time to eat.

Sure, I realize I could avoid the dining halls and eat elsewhere, but as a student who lives on campus without a real kitchen, having a meal plan is perhaps the most convenient way to ensure I get three meals each day.

Although I’m not completely a vegetarian, I do dedicate twice a week to a vegetarian diet and never eat beef for religious reasons. Recently, I have been on a religious holiday, which means I cannot eat eggs or any type of meat for ten days. As a senior, I have accommodated my eating habits to my religion hundreds of times, but lately, I have found myself more and more disappointed by the lack of vegetarian options in dining halls, or rather, the lack of food actually prepared in a timely fashion.

Often, it seems as though the dining halls prepare enough chicken, burgers and other non-vegetarian food to feed the football team, but what about those who do not eat these options? Why should they end up waiting in lines watching a dining hall chef prepare a small amount of pasta, or some other dish while other lines continue to move around them?

Yes, there is a salad bar in every dining hall that is generally fully equipped with enough options to please almost every salad-lover or vegetarian, but some people would prefer a hot meal over a cold salad. For these students, especially those who do not have a lot of time to wait in lines, hot food should not be something they have to wait on in dining halls.

And although most students are not vegetarians, many of them eat vegetables with their meals and others just choose to eat cheese pizza or the vegetarian pasta dish for the day, which is fine, but Bama Dining should work harder to accommodate the number of non-vegetarian students who also choose to eat the options they label as “vegetarian.”

Because the vegetarian options are not (and should not be) completely exclusive to vegetarians, the dining halls should prepare an equal amount of vegetarian and other meal options. Larger amounts of food, of all types, should be prepared in a timely manner to adequately satisfy each student.

Ashanka Kumari is the Chief Copy Editor of The Crimson White.