Home Opinion Montclair State Dining: Why Are We Still Waiting?

Montclair State Dining: Why Are We Still Waiting?

by Sal DiMaggio

The opinion pieces expressed in this publication, The Montclarion, are those of the author(s). They do not claim to reflect the opinions or views of The Montclarion, other than Editorials written by The Montclarion Editorial Board staff.

On April 23 Montclair State University announced that it would have a new vendor after that semester, Gourmet Dining. After much disappointment with dining services up to that point, many students were excited for a change.

With this announcement also came promises: promises of a Starbucks location near the library and a pub in the Rathskeller of the Student Center. Students were sent renderings of improvements to dining venues, such as an outdoor dining venue near Blanton Hall, and the design of the transformed Rathskeller area.

Flash forward to the present day, however, and progress has been a mixed bag. While some improvements have been made- the new cafe in the Student Center being one of them- students have not seen many things they thought they would get.

Let’s take the Starbucks situation, for example. Things started to look up in the fall with the addition of the Starbucks truck on campus. But long lines proved the need for there to be a permanent location, as was promised in Sprague Library.

But nothing has come of that. The pipes of the Starbucks truck froze over winter break, rendering it useless ever since and forcing it to be removed from its location. Meanwhile, no progress has been made inside the library itself.

Similarly, the promise of the pub in the Student Center has not come to fruition yet either. The poster of the rendering sits there, mocking the lack of progress the space has seen. Winter break would have been a prime opportunity to at least start the renovations, but nothing happened.

Admittedly, there is a lot that goes into these projects, so it is reasonable to assume that these plans somehow got delayed. But if that is the case, there has been little to no communication from the university about it.

The unkept promises are just the beginning of students’ dining woes, too. From outrageous wait times on Grubhub to a decreasing amount of affordable options, sentiment is returning to how it was with the previous dining vendor.

The university and its dining services need to be more transparent about the current situation with students. Many feel like the changes the new dining vendor talked about will not happen by the time they graduate, leading them to become apathetic to the successes that do happen.

To its credit, the new dining services have held many town halls where representatives talk to students about their concerns. This could be a perfect opportunity to shed light on why these projects have been delayed and strengthen its relationship with the student body.

Our dining vendor is also very active on social media, and that serves as another way they can share information on what is going on with the renovations and plans. A post, reel, TikTok or story would be extremely effective in getting the message to students, as the Instagram page has over six thousand followers. An email to students would also go hand in hand with this.

Gourmet Dining has the potential to elevate the student dining experience to heights it has not seen in recent years. But that all starts with making progress on what it said it would do and communicating with students about what is going on.

As long as this happens going forward, students can be excited about what is to come. But if not, the tradition of being disappointed with our dining experience will continue.

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