Snack Bar and Dining Services unveil improvements in offerings and hours

Students filing into Baxter Hall may notice changes in the snack bar. From new offerings to tweaked hours to more dinner and breakfast points, dining services has adopted many new practices in response to student opinions.

Most students have probably recognized the increase in points available for use at the snack bar. Dinner points have increased from $5 to $5.15 this year. Breakfast points have also increased from $3 to $3.10.

These increases more than compensate for the rise in snack bar prices. The snack bar prices have increased by about three percent since last year. “We raise our prices modestly every year based on the market,” said Helen Aitken, associate director of dining services.

The snack bar changed more than just the prices this year. The menu has grown significantly since last year with the addition of new sandwiches, such as chicken parmesan, and wraps, like Veggie Delight. Now offering protein bars and stress-relieving drinks, the snack bar is “continually looking for products that will not only appease [the students’] appetites, but provide a healthy choice,” according to Aitken. Instead of using paper plates, the snack bar now uses wicker baskets for sandwiches. The change both reduces waste and adds a country feeling to the snack bar. “The baskets have been very well received,” said Carol Luscier, snack bar manager.

Perhaps the most convenient change since last year has been the extension of hours. As opposed to last year, when full breakfast closed at 9:00 a.m., breakfast items will be available until 9:30 a.m. Also, the snack bar will remain open until 2:00 a.m. on both Thursdays and Fridays, and will close at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday nights.

Many students have been taking advantage of the new points system at Goodrich. Students will be able to use their $2.50 in breakfast points at Goodrich until 10:00 a.m. Because breakfast is not offered at Driscoll, this arrangement is especially convenient for students in the Berkshire Quad.

“If I had to walk to Baxter every morning before classes, I would never eat breakfast,” said Mariah Robbins ’05. Though Goodrich offers fewer points than the snack bar, the $2.50 satisfies many students’ appetites and lines have been reaching out the door just before classes.

Students may have observed new additions to the standard menu at the dining halls this year, as well. By increasing the food choices, dining services hope to appeal to a larger number of students.

“As always, we think that the offerings are diverse and should allow most eaters to be well nourished and generally enjoy their meals at Williams,” says Virginia Skorupski, nutritionist of the College.

If you haven’t tasted the new flavored tofu at all dining halls, you may have sampled some of the local organic vegetables at the salad bars. Carrots, tomatoes and lettuce are purchased from local farms. Bread in all dining halls is no longer bought from a grocery store, but baked fresh at a local Pittsfield bakery and delivered six days a week. The fresh bread is delivered in more varieties than last year, including pumpernickel and rye. “It is nice to deal as local as possible,” says Aitken.

These innovations are only the beginning. Both Dodd and Greylock Dining Halls will be offering different menus to sastisfy the tastes of all students. Dodd, where renovations are currently being completed, is scheduled to open Oct. 1. “The new set-up will provide more choices that are made to order and aimed at individual tastes,” added Skorupski. Dodd will now offer a wok area that will allow for some imaginative stir fry.

The changes made by dining services this year are especially the result of student perspective. “We remain committed to pleasing students of all eating persuasions and encourage communication regarding what you all like and want,” said Skorupski.