The Freshman Chronicles

The Dining Center Dilemma

Hello and welcome to the Freshman Chronicles, a place in the SPECTRUM where I get to complain and commend different parts of NDSU and college in general from the perspective of a first-year student.
In each entry, I discuss a new topic that is contributing to my college experience and give you all the lowdown on how I, and other freshmen, feel about it. In this week’s installment, we are going over the whole dining center dilemma, hence the title.

There is going to be a lot to unpack for this subject, so I recommend that you get comfy and prepare yourself for the absolute onslaught I am about to commit against the dining halls.

The first thing I need to get off my chest is the problem I have with the locations of the dining centers. I don’t really understand what the people in charge of allocating the dining centers on campus were thinking because when it comes to convenience and overall common sense, the locations of all three dining centers could’ve been planned out a lot better.

Placing the West and Residence Dining Centers across the street from each other was the first mistake they made. Why does one side of campus need two dining centers? The answer: they don’t. The only other dining center, Union, is about as far away from West and Residence as the North Pole is from the South Pole.

In my humble opinion, I think the directors of the campus blueprint should have taken into consideration placing one of the dining centers a little closer to halfway between the other two. That way, I wouldn’t have to walk the length of the Sahara Desert to enjoy the food I’m eating, which brings me to my next point: we need to talk about the difference in food quality and choice between the Union Dining Center and the West and Residence Dining Centers.

Why is it that the Union Dining Center seems to serve everything the other dining centers refuse to? I hate to sound obnoxious or privileged, but I avoid eating at the Union at all costs because unless they’re serving orange chicken, knoephla soup, or mini-long johns, I will not expose myself to the unique cuisine that hasn’t gained my trust quite yet.

I am in no way calling out the staff because they do a great job preparing the food, and I truly enjoy their greeting when I walk into the dining center. I just don’t think the choice of meals is all that great because they are never “normal,” and my social anxiety prefers when I can plan ahead for what I will be dining on for that meal which is difficult when I can’t recognize what it is I’ll be eating from its name.
Now, not only is the food choice a characteristic of the Union that qualifies it as the ugly sister of the three, but it is also the smallest of the three, taking up about the same amount of space as a bathroom in a small town gas station.

The entire south side of campus is expected to share this small space which leads to most people journeying to the other dining centers. I will say that because no one wants to eat at the Union, it is the best dining center to eat alone at.

The last and very minuscule thing I’d like to touch on is the names of the dining centers. The names of the West and Union Dining Centers make complete sense, but what hat did they pull the name Residence out of? It would’ve been a better idea to just call it the East Dining Center or the “Other” Dining Center.

Now that I have put all my ideas for improvement out into the world, I’m going to give you all the inside scoop on the positives of each dining center.

We’ll start with my favorite, Residence. Although I may bash the name, I absolutely love this dining center because, in the family analogy, Residence is the middle child. They don’t get quite enough recognition, but deep down, we all love them.

Residence Dining Center is my favorite because it provides the best environment and seating for people-watching, which happens to be one of my favorite activities, with the add-in of being able to order as much coffee as I’d like.

No matter how much I switch between the other dining centers, Residence will always have my heart.
Next, we’ll go with Union because I’m going to save the campus favorite for last. Union is, as I stated before, the best place to eat alone. There are many different areas that present themselves as opportunities to avoid social interaction, which is great when you one, need to study, and two, don’t want to talk to anyone.

 It might seem a little childish, but it seems a little unfair that everyone on the south side of campus has to either deal with the leftovers served at Union or make the trek to West and Residence.

I can guarantee that if you sit down and look busy, you will have a meal of peace. In relation to my dorm location, I will also commend Union for being the most convenient.

Now last but definitely not least, we have West. West has the greatest variety of food, but I also know that I can count on it to be serving alfredo pasta at almost every meal when I need a little comfort.
West is a great place to meet up with friends because it is always bustling with people, and the late-night menu of pizza and dessert never miss. My favorite part of West, though is the Sierra Mist which seems to be extra spicy.

If you are ever in need of some noise or want some extra carbonation in your Sierra Mist, I recommend going to West.

In conclusion, if I were to give a recommendation to someone new on campus when it comes to which dining center is best, I would tell them it all depends on their mood because each dining center provides a little something special with the meal it serves and will meet the dietary needs you have, but I definitely would not go to Union.

Anyway, I hope that the next person to design a college campus will see this lengthy opinionated essay and take into consideration all the insider info I have provided.

With that, I wish my fellow freshman good luck and God’s speed.

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