Does Oliver provide students with dietary needs enough options?
(Image c/o https://sweetkickinsalsa.com/change-up-party-food-with-burrito-bar/)
By Lillian La Salle
Does Oliver have enough options for students? Personally, I would say yes, but I eat the same thing every day because you never know if the cooked chicken will be divine or similar to a Goodyear Tire. Many students with dietary restrictions have voiced concern with the dining hall food. Although we have the salad and pasta bar, grill, dietary restriction area, and central meal station, more times than we would think students with dietary needs are left out of the loop. Students who are pescatarian rarely get proper protein-rich meals because so much of Oliver's protein comes from beef, pig, and chicken products. Yes, we always have tofu on hand, but if dietary flexibility is advertised, then more than once every two weeks should the dining hall be offering seafood for these students. There are other solutions offered such as the side dishes, but students with dietary needs proposed that there can be a burrito bar in Oliver to showcase the occasional shrimp burrito or fish taco.
Now, this may seem like a stretch, but hear me out. The bar next to the salad toppings is empty for the most part, and this would be the perfect place for it. Oliver already has beef and chicken that are always being made at the grill, and they can transfer some of it over to the new food stations. The salad bar has onions, corn, and cheese, and Oliver can invest in sour cream and tortillas for students to make their own. Students already have a high demand for rice and beans whenever Oliver has a nacho station for late night, so they can add those ingredients to their permanent supplies list instead of trying to experiment with different dishes each night. For our students with dietary restrictions, there would be fish available at least 5 out of the seven days a week, and all students would get to enjoy the new food station that is always a favorite whenever it makes an appearance at dinner or late-night. If Oliver is feeling a little crazy, maybe one day they'll sprinkle in a little bit of guacamole for students as well.
Oliver does its best to provide food for our students, and personally, I really enjoy it. However, I understand the challenges for other students when they can't quite figure out what they like at the dining hall, especially for those with dietary needs that seem to be brushed to the side. If the burrito bar is not a possibility, then maybe this can be a call to the Good Eating Company to give more protein options to their students with dietary needs.
Madison Sciba '24,