Dining Halls Expand Food Options for the Spring Semester

Donahue Court is offering an array of new options for the Spring 2021 semester.

Spit or Pit? Cova or Conn? St. Mary’s or the Law School? While the question of where to find the best food on campus is certainly divisive, it seems that everyone has come to a common consensus on one matter: increased food options from Dining Services for the spring semester is much appreciated.

During the fall semester, dining halls offered limited menus, with many of the regular stations permanently closed. These stations included options to build your own panini at Dougherty Hall, a salad bar and an omelet bar at Donahue Court and desserts such as gelato at Cafe Nova. 

These limitations were put in place due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

“As we began planning for the fall semester, there were many new logistics that we needed to take into consideration, including ordering limitations for items that were no longer readily available, socially distancing our staff in the kitchens and behind the serving lines and the ease and speed in which we could serve the Villanova community in a timely manner while upholding all social distancing regulations,” Jenna Rose, Nutrition Promotion Manager for Dining Services, explained. “These logistical impacts affected what foods we were able to offer, as certain options, including cooked-to-order stations, would create long lines and wait times, leading to crowding in the dining halls.” 

Rose highlighted that these restrictions during the fall semester allowed them to test out different options to see which items and stations could run successfully while maintaining social distancing and all newly implemented safety protocols.

“Having the opportunity to run these stations and observe the traffic flow during normal class schedules provided us with important insight into what stations and items could return to the menus while allowing us to safely maintain these safety procedures,” Rose said.

As a result, student dining halls have a slew of new options. They include a new oatmeal bar with hot oatmeal that can be topped with various seeds and berries, a Build Your Own Breakfast Bowl station where students can start with scrambled eggs, scrambled egg whites or tofu scramble and add their favorite vegetable and meat toppings and an omelet station in Dougherty Hall. 

Other changes include made-to-order sandwiches, wraps and quesadillas in the Auggie’s Deli stations of Donahue and Dougherty, a Build Your Own Grain Bowl line at Donahue and Dougherty and salad bars in all three dining halls.

One popular dining hall change is Donahue Hall’s unveiling of the coffee machines.

“I am an avid coffee lover,” said Kendra Lewis, a freshman Psychology major. “While Spit’s regular black coffee and cold brew options were enough to satisfy my morning caffeine cravings during the fall semester, I really appreciate the increased quality of and options for coffee provided by the coffee machines. They can make lattes, americanos, espresso and even cappuccinos.”

One non-edible change that students are excited about is the use of biodegradable containers in place of Styrofoam containers, which students raised concerns over the use of during the fall semester, citing their potential for environmental damage. 

“While all food is still offered in to-go containers to reduce crowding in the seating areas, a compostable to-go container is now standard in our dining halls,” Rose explained. “We also continue to offer individually dispensed cutlery to cut down on waste. We remain dedicated to our many other sustainability initiatives.”

These changes, however, would not have been possible without the collaboration, cooperation and communication between students, Student Government and Dining Services.

“One of the things I love about my role in Student Government is that I have the unique opportunity to witness all of the hard work Dining Services puts in behind the scenes in order to provide us with the best and safest possible dining experience,” said Caeli Janacek, a junior Nursing student and senator in Student Government. “The compostable containers are a great example of students coming to Dining Services with an idea about how to make our campus more environmentally friendly and Dining Services working with those students to develop a solution that works for the Villanova community as a whole.”