A job well done at Dining Services

While the absence of a replacement for Tom McEvoy still looms large at Buildings and Grounds, it is safe to say that the College made an excellent decision when it hired Bob Volpi as the new Dining Services director. The quality of the product that Volpi and his talented staff of dining hall managers, chefs and support staff produce each day has improved dramatically from past years. Part of the improvement may be linked to the recent renovations at Dodd and, more recently, Mission. However, the attention to quality and the increased diversity of offerings has improved markedly.

Perhaps it is not the case, but the improvement could be linked to a healthy dose of competition among the dining halls, as they each try to outdo one another, drawing students with special menu items and events. Whether Greylock’s wrap night, Mission’s hamburger special at lunchtime, the advent of Baxter North, Dodd’s international nights, Driscoll’s vegetarian dinners or the host of other options students have besides traditional fare, it seems there is often a strong incentive – an interesting meal – to leave one’s small enclave and experience another dining hall and other people.

Baxter North, in particular, is a major addition to lunch options and has significantly shortened lines at Baxter South and Grab ’n’ Go during crunch times. The addition of mini-refrigerators, filled with tofu and other vegan options, have also allowed for increased options in all the dining halls.

In addition, how could one forget “junk food night” and “donut night” during first semester exams, when the Baxter staff let students gorge themselves on all sorts of sumptuous items to help them forget the pain of studying for just a moment. The welcome late-night respite from the rigors and monotony of studying – plus the fact that it was all free – certainly lightened a trying period of time.

All great things, of course, sometimes have small glitches. The use of dining hall spaces outside of meal times – for large parties, in particular – has been an issue of some contention at times. We hope that for the foreseeable future, students will be able to use these prime spaces, while respecting the fact that Dining Services expends an enormous amount of time and effort keeping the spaces clean and functioning.

Also, a wish for the future: With its intimate dining space and plethora of special items, Driscoll has held a special place in the hearts of many Williams students. The facility, however, is in need of renovation and should be tended to as soon as the College can invest fully in the project, as it did with two wonderful renovations in Dodd and Mission.