Freshman French major Katie Wolf said it looked awful. Junior civil engineering major Collier Liddell didn’t even know it existed.
The “it” in question would be Sunday night Alumni Dining Room meals, which began last year as a means of providing an alternative dining option for students. However, the program has recently fallen under a spot of trouble, as student participation has declined compared to the previous year.
“When we first started the program, student attendance was around 300. This year, we’re seeing anywhere between 60 and 130 students showing up,” Director of Food Services Ron Gibson said.
Executive Chef Joe Morrissey said the survival of the program depends largely on the student turnout and reception.
“We have until the end of the Thanksgiving Break to determine whether or not the program is worth keeping,” he said. “If interest appears to be minimal, then we will have to look at other options, or the university may decide to pull the plug completely.”
Helping to stir up interest in the program is the Association of Residence Halls.
ARH Food and Housing Coordinator Sydney Steininger said ARH has been making a strong effort in getting the word out.
“We’ve started a ‘Halls & Stalls’ campaign, where we post flyers for the program in dorm halls and bathroom stalls.”
In addition, ARH has been advertising in the Scout and making announcements at the Activities Council movie night every other weekend in an attempt to further spread the word about Sunday night dinners.
Word of mouth on the student scene seems to be a mixed bag of compliments, suggestions and criticism.
Freshman computer science major A.J. Liptak and freshman art major Damon Taylor both said the food is overpriced, of poor quality and lacks any sort of variety.
By comparison, sophomore nursing major Kristin Palmer said while the food quality was good and there’s a decent amount of variety, she wouldn’t mind a small bump in price as long as the food improved as well.
Freshman health science major Kelsey Nevell said she preferred Blimpie for better food at about the same price as the cafeteria meal.
“Having Blimpie and other brand names right around the corner has presented some competition,” Gibson said. “I am confident we can bring in new students and keep the program alive. We are always open to suggestions, always experimenting and willing to accommodate students.”
Gibson said he would love to see the program continue, but whether or not the program makes it to 2009 is a decision that ultimately lies in the hands of the student body.