Due to the pandemic, Valpo dining has implemented many changes to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols. The pandemic has put various constraints on the dining experience and services here at Valpo. The rules have been implemented in order to protect people’s wellbeing and safety while allowing students to remain on campus.
From the food quality to the seating areas, a lot of procedures have changed in the past few months.
“I think the dining system is pretty good and there are a lot of healthy options this year. With how they have everything set up on serving the food it feels pretty safe,” said sophomore Ella Frangopoulos.
Valpo dining has made a lot of corrections in the past based on how students react to the new implementations. From silverware to where people can sit, there have been many new procedures put in place due to COVID.
“I think we refine things, and we refine and learn how we are doing it. For example, instead of regular silverware there is now packaged silverware instead. Refinements are based on how the students act and behave,” said the Assistant Deans of Student Activities, Steven Janowiak.
So far, the amount of people that can sit at each table and spacing them out has been working well to slow the spread.
“The tables are working wonderfully and the fact that we separated and reduced the amount of seats is working really well. The red and green signs are also working great. The settings for seating are maximum set for 4, although they can hold up to 5 people at the circular tables,” said Lee Keener, general manager of Parkhurst Dining.
Not only have there been seating restrictions, but there has also been the addition of more dining locations throughout campus so that it can help spread out students during mealtime.
“There’s also a food kiosk in Gellerson Hall, which is another food market, and they can also use their card swipe anywhere, and use an open meal block swipe at Grinders, the cafe, Gellerson or at Founders. This is helping students spread out significantly throughout the campus,” Janowiak said.
This year, students now have the option to take warm food from the stations in Founders back to their dorms.
“There is a new branding called Founders express, which gives students the option of taking a plastic to go box to reuse, and you can use it to get a hot meal at any of the locations for a meal swipe. There’s also a next meal, which is the brown bags that you can pick up in Founders and at all the other locations for meal swipe,” said Andrea Evans, Parkhurst meeting director.
In addition to all these new procedures and regulations, there is also a Chapel break breakfast being served in the Union right outside Founders by the grand piano. This gives students the option to get breakfast on the go when they’re heading to class, It also gives them another breakfast option.
This year, Founders has also gotten smarter with their food choices.
“We had to change our mindset. For instance, a porkchop would now be a carved pork loin. The Bravissimo station is now a bowl station, and everything on there are items we know they enjoyed. So you could go to that exact station everyday for lunch and get the exact same item,” Keener said.
Founders has also given vegetarians and those with special eating restrictions more options this year.
“Pasta is on [served] for dinner at spoon and fork and if we are not serving pizza, we're gonna have something big to go over at the grill station,” Keener said.
These protocols aim to keep students safe upon their return to campus life.