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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

2012: A Year in Dining

Published: February 8, 2013
Section: Opinions

It’s funny how we, as students, perceive time. It goes by so slowly during the majority of the year, yet at the end of every semester, we ask ourselves the same question: Where the did the last four months of my life go?

We get so caught up in the monotonous continuity of our daily routine, which falls into our weekly routine, and semester routine, that we stop noticing the minute changes in our lives.

We fall into autopilot, and lose appreciation for the everyday subtleties. On the classic Brandeis walk from Usdan to the Shapiro Campus Center, hundreds of commutes eventually leave us guided by instinct—our thoughts monopolized with the happenings of the past and possibility of the future. We only stop to appreciate the most extreme of changes to our environment: the vibrant colors of fall, winter’s first snowfall, the blossoming tulips and cherry trees in March. It takes the most obvious of changes like these to force us out of our routine, if only for a minute, to experience the present.

And so, in the belated spirit of the New Year, I would like to dedicate this article to recognizing the many small, but cumulatively significant changes that the Brandeis Dining Committee has facilitated over the last year, in order of personal favoritism.

Firstly, we have extended Einstein hours, which now run 24 hours from Sunday through Thursday. Likewise, the C-Store hours have been extended until 2 a.m. on weekends. At Quiznos, all menu items can now be purchased with meals. And these are just a few of the improvements this year.

Additionally, we have a new standard of nutritional transparency with all nutritional facts now labeled. Many of us have noticed the new salad station in Upper Usdan. Healthy grilled chicken is now offered daily in Sherman along with another innovation: labeled ice cream tubs, no more mystery flavors.

Back at Usdan, the Let-Us-Wrap station is back by popular demand. Gluten-free stations have been added both in Usdan and Sherman. Finally, Upper Usdan now offers free sour cream at Tortilla Fresca.

In addition to making these changes through Aramark, Brandeis’ contracted catering provider, the Brandeis Dining Committee has created its very own Facebook group to provide students with an open forum in which to post comments, complaints and suggestions on food and dining at Brandeis. The Brandeis University Senate Dining Committee Facebook group currently has 423 members—approximately 12 percent of the undergraduate student-body.

Every comment or complaint that students make are directly addressed by one of the committee chairs and discussed with Aramark management in order of importance (the number of Facebook likes the wall-post receives). Since the Facebook group’s creation on Dec. 5, the forum has received more than 100 wall posts and continues to collect student feedback daily.

Students can join the discussion forum by searching Brandeis University Senate Dining Committee on Facebook. Many of the improvements we have seen are a direct result of the suggestions made through this site.

The writer is a member of the Senate Dining Committee.