SHARE
Wiki­media Commons

Stu­dents will notice many changes in the dining hall this semester, Bon Appetit General Manager David Apthorpe said. These “monotony-breakers” will provide greater options for people with stricter diets. 

Bon Appetit has tried in pre­vious years to provide a broad selection of healthy foods for stu­dents. Part of this process has been bringing food from local pro­ducers to the dining hall. It has been a slow process, one that has been held up by logis­tical issues in pre­vious years. This year, Apthorpe said, stu­dents will see foods, like maple syrup and beans, from local busi­nesses instead of from outside the area. Bon Appetit is also part­nering with Glei’s Orchards and Green­houses in Hillsdale to bring fresh apples to the dining hall. 

Bon Appetit is also pro­viding stu­dents with strict diets and “big eight allergies” access to more options at meal times. 

Pre­vi­ously, veg­e­tarian and vegan stu­dents, as well as other stu­dents with health-related diet restric­tions, have had dif­fi­culties finding full meals. This year, the gluten-free meal section has been relo­cated and includes a sep­arate microwave, waffle maker, and refrig­erator specif­i­cally for gluten-free foods. Addi­tionally, now that agree­ments with local busi­nesses are finally coming to fruition, stu­dents should see more veg­e­tarian and vegan friendly options. 

One new veg­e­tarian and vegan option is the full-service grain bar. In past years, the grain bar was fully self-service. This year, Apthorpe said Bon Appetit has “brought the bar to life” by training chefs to serve as saute chefs at the bar. Apthorpe is trying to expand the full-service option to evening dining hours and is excited to be pro­viding variety for a group of stu­dents that he says are his­tor­i­cally under­served. As a result of these new changes, he said, Bon Appetit has been receiving fewer com­ments related to lack of veg­e­tarian and vegan options. 

Earlier in this month, Bon Appetit installed two new ID card swipe machines in the dining hall. Apthorpe said in an email that the old machines were “obsolete and were no longer accu­rately reading cards,” causing longer waits in the line to enter the dining hall. 

The old machines allowed stu­dents to swipe their ID cards for meals or punch in their indi­vidual ID numbers without their cards. Now, the capa­bility to punch in one’s ID number is no longer available, and stu­dents are unable to attend meals or share their swipes with other stu­dents without their physical ID card. 

Apthorpe said Bon Appetit requested that the machines be updated, but the college made the ultimate decision of which machines they would receive. Apthorpe added that neither the college nor Bon Appetit specif­i­cally requested machines that would elim­inate manual ID-number-punching; that function is simply not default on the replace­ments. 

Apthorpe said stu­dents’ initial response to the upgraded machines had been neg­ative but, as time has passed, “by and large the student body has been able to adjust.”

Several stu­dents said they feel incon­ve­nienced by the change, stating that the new machines make swipe-sharing more dif­ficult.

“I usually carry my ID card so the change hasn’t been a big deal for me,” senior Briana Dame said. “But I can def­i­nitely under­stand how it would be so incon­ve­nient to other people.”

Some stu­dents said they feel the change is an insult to the Honor Code and sug­gests that some stu­dents would use others’ ID numbers without their per­mission.

“There’s a general feeling among the student body that Bon Appetit does not trust us anymore,” junior Morgan Mor­rison said in an email. “We signed an honor code, and if Bon Appetit cannot trust the stu­dents any longer, then we’ve lost part of what makes Hillsdale so special.”

The change comes after responses Bon Appetit made through its com­ments text line which men­tioned the potential for “instances of fraud we are unwilling to accept.”

Apthorpe also echoed this sen­timent.

“The oppor­tunity for someone to use another student’s ID without their knowledge had been pretty easy,” Apthorpe said. 

Adding that while there have been no reported instances of fraud, Bon Appetit “sees that as a risk worth elim­i­nating” and is taking steps toward increasing con­ve­nience while still pro­tecting stu­dents’ meal plans. 

Bon Appetit has started devel­oping changes to improve the new systems further. Apthorpe men­tioned they are cur­rently looking into enabling tap-to-swipe capa­bil­ities through Blue­tooth-capable cell phones. 

Addi­tionally, Bon Appetit is in the process of devel­oping a swipe exchange program between Bon Appetit loca­tions, like A.J.’s Cafe, on campus. This would better serve stu­dents with evening engage­ments that prevent them from attending meals while simul­ta­ne­ously relieving pressure on the dining hall staff during busy meal rushes.