If there’s one thing that unites the students of Colgate University nearly universally, it is food. We love to hate it, hate to love it. We love to eat food, love to talk about eating food, and we plan our days around when and what we will eat together.
I think the idea of food bringing people together is pretty well-established. You see it in almost every culture around the world, people loving sharing meals together, preparing dishes and handing down recipes. You see something a little similar at Colgate.
As first-years, we all gather in Frank for endless hours of conversation over Ed Burgers (he’s still around, right? I’m old and out of the loop), Sunday Sundaes, coffee, cereal, pizza, and pasta. I truly believe I made most of my friendships here in that dining hall, especially in the late hours of the night. Yes, as Colgate students, our love of food and the limited, but wonderful, options we have here creates a strong bond.
An even stronger bond is created by our hatred for food and dining experiences we have deemed unworthy. Examples that may come to mind are that time a girl found a feather in her fried chicken at Frank, or any time Frank tries to make food aside from the basic, greasy, and American. Because as much as we love certain things about Colgate’s dining halls, we mostly love to hate them.
There are limited dining options while up the hill, and this counts for students, staff, faculty, and administrators. Frank Dining Hall, which is around 11 dollars for entry if you’re not on the meal plan, the Coop, which offers to-go options, the C-Store, which is mainly overpriced smoothies and snack foods, Donovan’s Pub, which has limited hours and offers mainly pub food.
The Chobe (short for Chobani) Cafe is stuck up and has expensive, tacky taste. The coffee options are limited and expensive, most drinks you can’t even pick a size. There’s no simple syrup, no flavored syrup, and any dairy substitutions come at a high price. For the vegan and dairy-free in the audience, just go home. It’s a cafe run by a dairy company, you literally can’t eat there unless you want to sacrifice your digestive system to the lactose gods. As for the soups that I once survived on, there is only one kind of soup and it costs five dollars to get a cup. In this economy?
Everything about the Lib Cafe’s makeover and new-found awfulness indicates that changes weren’t made with students in mind. Limiting options, raising prices, designing a menu unfriendly to dietary restrictions, and limiting meal swipes at a location where students spend all hours of the day does not improve the student dining experience at Colgate, let alone alleviate any of the stress a student is likely experiencing in the library. It inherently misunderstands what students want and need, and leaves us no good options when we’re trying to juggle work, health, finances, and time.
My real concern with the Chobe Cafe is that Chobani and Colgate Dining won’t fix the mistake they’ve made. I can already picture myself in finals week this December, desperately needing food and coffee, but unable to leave the library, whether that is due to a snowed-in car or a race with a Moodle submission deadline. The specifics don’t really matter, what matters is that the Chobe Cafe won’t be serving its purpose unless changes are made soon.