Dining services announces changes – Underground express ready to open

As a result of numerous requests from students, the College has implemented two new dining options for students: a new bag lunch option in the basement of Baxter Hall and a late night pizza service at Mission Park.

Starting on Monday October 5 the “Underground Express” will open in the basement of Baxter, joining the Doghouse, where Dining Services now serves hot dogs at lunchtime.

According to Associate Director of Operations for Dining Services Alexandre da Silva, the Underground Express will feature a grab-and-go lunch option, which will include a sandwich, beverage, fruit, chips and a dessert of the day.

The Underground Express will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Underground lunch will count as a meal on all the meal plans that the school offers. Students and faculty will also be able to purchase lunches at the Underground Express with cash.

Da Silva described the Underground Express as “a nutritious lunch at a convenient pace.”

He said the Underground Express will be staffed by many of the same workers who currently staff the Doghouse.

He added that he envisions that the new lunch service will probably lead to some reduction in lunch business at the regular dining halls as the new option should appeal to many students with tight schedules.

Da Silva said late night pizza at Mission Park will feature a pizza-parlor style atmosphere. Students will be able to use cash, regular points, or dinner points to purchase either 14-inch or personal size pizzas. The service will be open on Sunday through Thursday nights from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

da Silva predicts that the late night pizza option could significantly decrease the number of students who spend their dinner points at the snack bar. Particularly, he said, the new service could be a big draw for students living in the Mission and Dodd complexes.

The new dining service programs drew mixed responses from students.

Many students noted that they will not opt for the Underground Express as they prefer hot food and consider lunch an important social time.

Some also noted that they prefer the food choices the dining hall offers.

“Some people will definitely take the option, but it won’t significantly affect the dining hall because there are more choices (there),” said Joo Yeon Han ’02.

Han, who works in Baxter dining hall, said she would be willing to work in the Underground Express, but would shy away from the later hours of the pizza service at Mission.

However, some students say they plan to use the Underground so that they will be able to bring food back to their rooms when crunched for time.

Candace Marlow ’02 said, “It is a great idea because sometimes you don’t have time to sit and eat, only to go through the line and grab something, so this way you can grab your food and eat it on your way to class and you won’t be late.”

The introduction of late night pizza at Mission has also drawn varied reviews.

First-year Jessica Grogan, who lives in the Freshman Quad, said she likes the concept of late night pizza, but is reluctant to make the trek all the way to Mission. She added that the hours are later than she would have liked.

“It is very important that these programs are convenient (for students),” da Silva said. He noted that the effectiveness and convenience of the programs will be assessed over the next few months. da Silva added that he hopes students will provide feedback to the programs on comments sheets or on the dining services website, located at www.williams.edu/admin-depts/dining/.

Da Silva said his staff is “excited by the takeoff of these new ideas because it is a way to use their creativity and versatility.”

To da Silva, the advantage of these programs to students is that they are a “convenience to meet their lifestyles.”