By Brittany Pierce
The start of the new year has brought many new changes to campus dining options at Alma College. Some are modifications while others are completely new additions.
“For Joe’s, we’re looking at changing some of the options for the meal advantage. So, that will probably start taking place and we’ll probably start seeing some changes just in those options in the next week or two,” said Gary Brown, the general manager of Alma College dining services.
Along with options for food, the way that munch money works changed as well.
“One thing I want to make sure the students realize as well is that munch money this year rolled over for the first time ever,” said Brown. “So from fall to winter, all their unused munch money rolled over. I just want to make sure students realized that was happening as well.”
However, Joe’s is not the only place with new changes.
“As for Hamilton, we introduced the Green Box program, which I’ve heard a lot of good things from students and staff and faculty just about how much better it is than just relying on the premade sandwiches and salads and stuff like that. That’s been a huge hit,” said Brown.
The Green Box program allows students to purchase a reusable take-out box for a one-time fee of $5.00. Then, these students can fill the box with their desired menu choices, rinse the container, and then bring in back to Hamilton Commons to exchange it for a sanitized one.
There is a brand-new breakfast option this semester in the Hamilton Commons as well.
“As you noticed, we put a smoothie bar up and it’s incorporated with the yogurt parfait bar, so that’s something we did new this year,” said Head Chef Spiro.
“You’ll see coming up, if we have any kind of patty like the chicken patty, chicken breast, or burger, the condiments will be on the side now. You guys will be able to put your own stuff. For example, if you like lettuce, tomato or buffalo sauce, you guys can do that yourselves now. Again, that just gives you guys some more options because not everybody likes the combination of flavors and such,” said Spiro.
“We have some neat things coming out for you guys. During the week, I know sometimes things can get a little stale on different things. But we’re doing something called a bodacious burger which will be on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at lunch time.”
For one meal swipe and $4.99 of munch money, students can get their choice of one of three special, half-pound burgers.
“Any time we do something like this it’s always something a little bit more, and it takes a little bit more to do it as far as cost. But these are the things we like to do and we’re going to do some nice buffalo waffle fries for you guys, too,” said Spiro.
Spiro also stressed the importance of communication between the students and the dining service staff.
“Every year we’re going to be bringing some different stuff in and the thing that we like now is that we get a chance to talk to you guys. You guys have some ideas and it’s good for you guys to share it with us Gary and myself,” said Spiro.
“If there’s something that you want more of or if you see if there’s something that we can do, we’re always going to be there to try something for you guys because again we’re here all the time (to listen).”
However, some students are still dissatisfied with the lack of labeling possible allergens in the food.
“As for the labeling (of allergens), everything should be labeled on the TV screens and we double check those, especially over at the My Zone station,” said Brown.
“But the biggest thing is that if students aren’t one hundred percent sure then they just need to ask. Ask anybody in a blue shirt, white shirt, or chef coat; if they don’t know the answer they’re all trained to not answer unless they are one hundred percent sure. If they don’t know then they go get chef or somebody like that who is one hundred percent sure.”
For students who do not have time to spend in the dining hall reading the TV screens, the bite app is also an option.
There are posters located in the Hamilton commons providing information on how to download the app as well as the access code.
“I know I talk about it a lot with the students who come and talk to us about allergies. It gives you a brief description, all the calories, all the other nutritional facts, it also gives you a recipe number if you want to look that up (and) it tells you what the serving size is and then if there’s any allergies,” said Brown.
You can also log into fitbit and this (app) interacts with fitbit and everything like that.”
As the semester progresses, Spiro and Brown hope to keep making more changes and improvements based on student input.
“I think we can do a suggestion box. Maybe there’s something we can do that we haven’t done before and if it’s popular, then we’ll bring it back and work it through our cycle menu. But input and suggestions from you guys is great,” said Spir