The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV needs more dining hall options

I remember when I first toured Grand Valley State University, I was amazed by the campus, and I knew that GVSU was my number one choice for college. Upon getting here, I found out a series of things I had been told on the tour were untrue. The first was that not all campus sidewalks are heated. The second, and most important, thing I found out was the limited food options at GVSU, especially for students with dietary restrictions. While eating on campus may have gotten better since I was a freshman, these problems seem to have persisted throughout my four years.

I was a freshman in 2020, the peak COVID-19 pandemic, and to be frank, it was horrible. No one was left in the dorms, various dining halls were shut down throughout the year including Fusion in the lower level of Kirkhof Center and classes were all online– minus my 8 a.m. bio lab (of course). I felt as if I had been robbed of my entire freshman experience, as most students felt during the height of the pandemic. It was nothing but isolating my freshman year, and what was especially isolating the dining hall food options were. 

On a good day, there were only a handful of places to eat from my freshman year. The closest dining hall to my dorm was Kleiner Commons, the most commonly visited place for freshmen to eat. During my entire freshman year, only the lower level of Fresh was open, and the only places I remember that were open on weekends were the rice bowl place in Fresh’s lower level, which no longer exists, The Grill and a couple of other options with limited hours. If you had wanted to eat on campus past 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday, good luck. You’d better have had a supply of macaroni and cheese cups and a microwave in your dorm. 

Additionally, there have been other issues with campus dining. For instance, five campus dining venues were closed in the fall 2021 semester due to a lack of staffing.

While there are more dining locations open compared to what I remember in 2020, people still have many different issues with Laker Food Co.’s dining options.

Currently, GVSU is planning to put a Chick-fil-A in Kirkhof Center (after I graduate, of course), but the plan is currently halted. Either Chick-fil-A will become a dining option at GVSU or a new food venue will take over the location that previously held Subway. Is this one option enough? You would think that by paying tens of thousands of dollars in tuition, there would be plenty of dining variety.

What about students with celiac disease? What about students with peanut allergies? What about lactose-intolerant students?

Although there is currently an allergen-friendly dining option in Kleiner called “True Balance,” I’m sure students tire of only having one food option on campus. If you’re vegetarian, kiss your dining plan goodbye.

My roommate freshman year had very severe celiac disease. I remember that during the first week of classes, I would spend 30 minutes with her at every meal in the dining hall, trying to find something other than salad that she could eat. It was hard for me to watch as she settled for salad, and she even ended up lowering her dining plan, opting to buy her own food due to the lack of options.

It is also laughable what the college expects people with allergies to eat. Even more, I can’t imagine being vegan at GVSU.

If you did eat meat, the meat at GVSU’s dining halls was so bad my freshman year that there was a popular meme about how raw the school’s chicken was. I remember posts on social media and freshmen leaving Kleiner don’t seem happy with the food on GVSU’s campus. Another time that year, my friend sent me a video, and the entire inside of his chicken sandwich was pink. Completely raw. In my freshman year, I’d bet many students were quickly converted to being vegetarian because of the all too often uncooked meat. 

GVSU has a long way to go in terms of improving dining halls and food options for students. My hope is that in the near future there will be more dining locations. The GVSU 2023 Housing and Residence Life Master Plan highlights potential renovations to dining options including the Blue Connection. I hope this will increase the options that are offered, especially for those with food allergies, intolerances and dietary restrictions.

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