Needing a Change Clemson dining

Disgusting dining hall food.

Every day, students are supposed to get nutritious and healthy meals. But how are they supposed to when they're being fed bad food? These five students filmed what they ate in the dining hall for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

For the most part, it is not too difficult to find what you want to eat. Other than limited stir fry and omelette bar hours in Schilletter, the majority of food you would expect to be in the dining halls is in the dining halls. Of course, do not expect high quality food, as they are cafeterias, but one has to be fair when assessing the variety and options the dining halls offer.

Something of much concern, however, is the longevity of the food. Do not be surprised if you scoop yourself some yogurt only to find it has slightly soured. You won’t know, until you bite into your granola/oats, that they had gone stale. Burgers and chicken patties sit in vats for hours on end, it seems, while the same pizza could remain on the pan until it is apparent it has gone old. This food is still served. This is especially a concern, because the longer food is left out, the higher probability there is of becoming sick when ingesting it. According to Christine Gallary, who has worked at Cook’s illustrated and CHOW.com, bacteria grows on food that is left out at a temperature from 40 degrees to 140 degrees, and after two hours the food is not safe to eat.

It is certainly possible to find what you want to eat, but keep an eye on the cooked food that has been left out sitting in its own grease. You may not want to eat it for the safety of your taste buds and your health.

Clemson dining halls attempt to provide a variety of food to have a variety of nutritious benefits but fail miserably. They blame the dreaded Freshman Fifteen on the freshmen when they really should be blaming the dining halls. The food is soaked in sodium and fat, and when portioned correctly, the recommended amount could fit in one hand. Reported by the United States Department of Agriculture, the average calorie intake of a moderately active 18 year old female is 2000 calories and 2800 calories for a moderately active 18 year old male. Eating all of these calories spaced throughout three meals is impossible when one chicken patty in the dining hall is 468 calories without including the bun or the sauces... and don't forget the fries and the drink! In the very slight chance there were to be some healthy foods, they're never stocked enough. Such as fruit. When they finally put ripe fruit out, it's gone by the end of the day and if you really wanted a banana for breakfast, then tough luck. By the time half the students have gotten the food it's already gone which leaves the hamburgers sitting in grease for the rest of them.

Being a student athlete, we have meals that are covered by our scholarships. So we are fed every time we have a workout, practice, or after a game. Most times we will have food catered by Aramark which is basically the same thing as eating from Schilletter or any of the other dining halls. Also before games we will go out as a team and eat team dinners from restaurants like Texas Roadhouse or Outback, but we have limitations on what we are able to order. This is because we have a certain diet we should be mindful of and adhere to. Our weightlifting coach and nutritionist help us keep up with those type of things.

We were given a debit card, so when we aren’t fed after games $15 is deposited into our accounts. We don’t have to use it but it is an option that we have.

As you would expect from a normal dining hall the appearance and taste of the food does not represent the best quality food. The food is also quickly prepared because thousands of students must be served. This rush to prepare the food is obvious from the appearance of the food all thrown into containers (ex. the grill section of the core dining hall) for students pick through. I may make it sound worse than it really is, but it is definitely clear that the food quality does not equal the amount students pay for meal plans. At almost all stations of the dining halls there is usually a mess around the containers that hold the food. This mess is usually due to the students picking through what they want but none the less it can lead to an unappetizing appearance.

“At Clemson University, we encourage variety for our students when it comes to dining. That's why we offer a diverse array of innovative meal plans and culinary expertise to satisfy your everyday cravings on campus!”(Clemson University Dining Services) This message was located on the main page of the Clemson dining website. There is a decent variety of food at the dining halls but the problem is it rarely changes. It’s the same food every day. And it is definitely a stretch to say that it offers “culinary expertise” because the food is clearly no better than average.

How much it actually costs per meal at Clemson University:

Unlimited meal plan cost with 300 paw points: $2,030

Number of meals eaten in a day: 4 meals (counting snack)

Number of meals a week: 28 meals

Number of meals in an 8 week semester: 224

2,030-300=1,730 ( only focusing on dining hall)

1,730/224=$7.72

It costs approximately $7.72 for every single meal that a student walks away with at a dining hall. That means that if you only grab a banana for breakfast, it's costing the student $8 for just a banana. That’s ridiculous.

The above calculations show what a typical freshman student at Clemson University would pay for their meals, clearly showing how overpriced everything is. In addition, this takes into account having approximately four meals a day, however many students find themselves only going to the dining halls approximately once or twice a day, thus increasing the price of each meal extremely. Based on the quality of the meals provided to students, the price of the meals is outrageous. This is why many upperclassman find themselves avoiding meals plans altogether and cooking at their apartments. But isn’t it a campus’ job to provide good food for their students? The upperclassman are practically forced to make their own meals since it is cheaper, or are even forced to buy the fast food provided around campus (which isn’t very healthy). As it is college students are broke, but it shouldn’t be the meal plans that dig their grave.

Solutions:

Some solutions to the dining hall food problem is buying and making your own food but freshmen are forced to pay for the dining package their first year. So if you're willing to pretend your wallet is bottomless, then the best food is at your fingertips.

Another solution would be to camp out in the dining hall so you were the first to arrive and the first to pick the best food. Then fight to the death for the last ripe piece of fruit or the last edible looking hamburger patty.

Lastly, (probably the best solution), is to find other providers for the food that we buy. We would need to analyze the cost that Clemson already spends on food and try to find a source for better food. Possibly even find family owned farms to team up with and get a portion of what they sell to the public. These records are not easily found or there would already be an analysis on the spending since so many students are unhappy with the dining hall services. Clemson Dining needs to change.

Sources: https://docs.google.com/a/g.clemson.edu/document/d/1Mh6qSJKuc8pTHhWQH2FyysH7FwG4MPKKCWbp8CC7KTk/edit?usp=sharing

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