Throughout researching colleges, I never focused on their foodservice programs. On tours, as I walked through the dining hall, I would observe the setup, but for me the food never affected my decision. I ended up enrolling at Butler University and orientation was the first time I realized that there were only two dining halls on campus, plus a convenience store and a Starbucks.
Most mornings I would start my day by getting breakfast at Atherton, one of the two dining halls. It’s in the center of campus and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast was the smallest meal they served, but they still had plenty of options. I normally got eggs and fruit.
Some mornings, I would stop at Starbucks before my 8 a.m. class. However, most mornings this was not an option because of the line. Butler’s Starbucks uses a third-party app for online orders, but it only worked for me a handful of times first semester and never worked second semester.
After my morning classes, I would meet up with friends for lunch. Our favorite spot for lunch was Butler’s other dining hall, located in the freshman dorm, Residential College. Resco served lunch and dinner first semester, but only lunch second semester. I found the change frustrating because when I studied in my room, it was easy to walk downstairs for dinner to take a break. Second semester, I ate lunch at Resco every day because it was less crowded and had better options. If I ate lunch at Atherton, I would toast a bagel with peanut butter. Their chocolate chip bagel is the best.
Resco offered a Mexican bar featuring tacos, bowls, burritos and quesadillas; a pasta bar; a salad and fruit bar; and also a rotating item. My favorite was the Mexican bar, where I would create my own bowl with chicken and vegetables. I also loved when the rotating item was spaghetti and meatballs. Another bonus to Resco is they normally had fresher fruit than Atherton.
For dinner, I would often go to Atherton. Most days, they offered a stir-fry bar, which was my go-to. Atherton also has a sandwich bar, a healthy option and a grill area. On nights where I couldn’t find an option I liked, I would go to C-Club, our convenience store, to buy a sandwich. The sandwich bar was really nice because you could customize your sandwich and even get a salad.
C-Club offers the only to-go option, besides Starbucks, and has later hours than the dining halls. I found myself at C-Club when I needed an extra boost of energy when studying late at night. They have a case of Graeter’s Ice Cream, a shake machine and a grill area.
As I look forward to next year, I’m excited to have a kitchen. This year, I kept snacks and light meals like soup and mac and cheese in my dorm. Having a kitchen won’t replace having a meal plan, since first-years and sophomores are required to buy a full meal plan. The kitchen will allow me to have healthier options for nights when I don’t like the options at our dining hall.
During the spring semester, Butler announced we will have a new foodservice operator on campus. Students were informed through a mass email explaining the new features. I think most students are excited for more food options and the restructuring of how some of the dining halls work. I am looking forward to the promise of fresher foods and more options.