A.J.’s employee serves a cus­tomer a meal. Carly Howell | Col­legian

In an effort to curb the potential for trans­mission of COVID-19, A.J.’s Cafe is now one of mul­tiple new meal-swipe sta­tions on campus, and will no longer be making sand­wiches and snacks to order.

Tran­si­tioning from a cafe to a meal spot, A.J.’s joins the new sta­tions in Lane and the Old Snack Bar as Bon Appetit and campus admin­is­trators work to channel foot traffic away from the Knorr Family Dining Room.

A.J.’s changes were con­veyed to student employees just days before the start of the semester.

“If I’m com­pletely honest, it’s been pretty hard,” said senior Michaela Frohnen, the student manager. “We used to be a cafe, making sand­wiches and salads, then all of a sudden we’re not.” 

Though the cafe’s coffee and ice cream remain available all day, its main function is now to serve “hot bowls,” hot boxed meals, for lunch and dinner. The three bowl options cur­rently have an Asian theme, but this flavor profile will change every 45 days with Indian and Latin inspired bowls slated for later this semester. 

Items that were pre­vi­ously available at A.J.’s for pur­chase with Liberty Bucks, such as candy, chips, energy drinks, and juice, now can be found in the Old Snack Bar, also known as the C Store.

“We didn’t get rid of any­thing,” Frohnen said. “We just moved it.”

Frohnen added that the new schedule of what can be pur­chased and when has been con­fusing to stu­dents. Meal swipes are only accepted from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch in A.J.’s, and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for dinner. Liberty Bucks can still be used to pur­chase coffee and ice cream throughout the day.

“It’s becoming easier as we get used to the new system,” Frohnen said. “We all under­stand that this is what A.J.’s has to do this semester, but that it won’t be this strange meal swipe place forever. We’ll even­tually be back to our old cafe, hope­fully by next semester.” 

Though the changes are not intended to be per­manent, many stu­dents say they like the new routine.

“I like the freedom of not being con­fined to eating at Saga. I find it less stressful,” said senior Alex Reid. “The bowls are like bento boxes, and the world cuisine makes me feel like I’m at Epcot every day.” 

Heidi Yacoubian, a senior who has worked at A.J.’s since her freshman year, said the new set up is a “faster and more effective” method of food service. 

“But it does change the job a lot, because it’s so much faster paced,” Yacoubian said. “It’s more about getting people in and out rather than spending time chatting over the counter. But I think they’ve made good changes given the cir­cum­stances.”

She also urged stu­dents to express appre­ci­ation for the new chefs helping behind the scenes.

“The chefs and workers that they’ve had coming from other schools are working so hard, and they’re super appre­ciative,” she said. “So just to say thank you to them whenever you get a chance.”