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Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

OPINION: New dining structure is definitely an adjustment

Colby Fountain / Hilltop Views
The new iteration of Meadows Coffeehouse is causing some students to abstain from their caffeine. The new “We Proudly Serve” Starbucks on campus offers an interesting vibe and subpar coffee.

After living on campus for three years, I had a routine. Every morning I pried myself out of bed to retrieve a fresh breakfast taco from Hunt Hall. I would eat it at my desk, watching YouTube before going to Jo’s and getting a lavender lemonade.

Now, I, and many other students, cannot do any of those things. 

Over the summer, dining received a supposed upgrade. Hunt Hall switched to dine-in only and a new payment model. This quasi-swipe method requires students to pay a flat fee—$7 for breakfast and $9 for brunch, lunch, light lunch and dinner—to enter the dining hall and feast upon an array of sad options. 

Ragsdale did not switch to the new payment method and is generally the same, except they now charge a fee if you want to take your pizza or burrito bowl to-go. Finally, Meadows Coffeehouse, which served Jo’s Coffee for over a decade, has been turned into a “We Proudly Serve” Starbucks. Gross!

Last week, I got a baked potato for dinner because they no longer serve chicken tenders in Hunt, only in South Congress Market. The potato was good but missing a key element: bacon. There was a toppings station set up with sliced chives, shredded cheese, sour cream but not bacon, just a metal tin of what looked to be small slices of ham.

I assumed the lack of bacon was because they ran out at breakfast, but no. When I went to Hunt for breakfast on Saturday, there was also a shocking lack of bacon. What they did have meat-wise were vegan sausage patties which my roommate deemed inedible after one bite. 

You can get breakfast tacos at Meadows, but the tacos are premade and kept in a warmer so everything congeals together into an eggy mess. 

One major problem I’ve noticed at these buffet-style stations in Hunt is that the food is cold. Scrambled eggs, pizza and almost anything you can get sits for hours at a time in open air. Before this dining change, eggs were freshly scrambled and pizza was made fresh constantly. 

I had high hopes that SoCo Market would be open longer due to the dining changes, but alas, my expectations weren’t met. Earlier in the semester, the dining website stated that SoCo Market would be open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays, but signs posted around campus stated that it would retain its previous hours of operation, 8 to 11 a.m. In my opinion, Rags should be open at least until 3 p.m. and since Hunt is the main dinner option on campus it should be open until 10 p.m. for those of us who have night classes. 

Jo’s is the saddest loss of them all, though. No more lavender lemonades, no more wine boxes and no more iced turbos. 

Although I do appreciate the more consistent pricing, it’s just not the same. Since switching to a “We Proudly Serve” Starbucks, the cozy feel Jo’s used to offer has been wiped away. Inside the newly renovated coffeehouse, the tables are crammed together, the menu is too small to read if you aren’t blessed in the vision department, the cute counter is taken up by a case that displays unsatisfying bagels and sandwiches and, of course, the coffee sucks.

“I miss Jo’s every single day,” junior Julia Klein said. “The new cafe’s coffee tastes bitter and they always get my order wrong. I used to order an iced vanilla latte before class and loved it every time. Now, I don’t even bother stopping in because I know I’ll wait in the impossibly long line just to be disappointed with my coffee.”

The long lines could be due to the absence of properly trained baristas.. Hopefully that will be fixed as they hire more student workers. I’ve also noticed that some drinks are served partially empty. I’ve seen teas with an inch and a half of space left in the cup. 

The new dining system will come with a learning curve, but hopefully we can all get used to it before we either become dehydrated and starve or break the bank using UberEATS. 

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About the Contributor
Emma Sutton
Emma Sutton, Staff Writer
Emma Sutton is a junior a majoring in writing and rhetoric with a concentration in journalism and digital media. It is her second semester writing for Hilltop Views and first semester as a staff writer. She loves writing about all things pop culture but also has a soft spot for baseball.

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    Cheryl FurraSep 20, 2023 at 7:37 pm

    Sounds overwhelming disappointing. Who made the change? And why?