Dishing about dining

As summer approaches, schoolwork and finals combine to overwhelm students, but no matter how busy your schedule is, it’s the perfect time to reflect on one of the most important aspects of college life: dining halls.

Most meal plans this year cost more than $1,000, so deciding what to do next year has a high financial impact on students, or at least on students’ parents.

Students might not admit it, but we love our dining options. We complain about them in a loving way. There’s always room for improvement though, so here are some positive suggestions for next year.

More M&G options would be a dream come true, which means for now it’s just a dream. Student government leaders could work with Aramark, the company that provides ASU with dining hall food and M&G options, to try to bring down the cost of participation in M&G options.

Associated Students of Arizona State University Downtown (ASASUD) began an M&G campaign at their Senate meeting April 23, according to their website. President Tania Mendes said she would meet with Aramark and that she was confident next year’s senators would continue the campaign.

It is not easy for restaurants to sign a contract with Aramark, which, like any other business, is concerned about making a profit.

“I’ve worked very hard for years now to be at least accepted by Aramark as a contractor,” Dave Cheren, owner of Dave’s Dog House, said. Cheren recently moved his business onto ASU’s Tempe campus and said it was a privilege to work with Aramark, not something any business should be able to do. Cheren said that if students want more businesses to have M&G options they should form a representative group to meet with Aramark. Whether it leads to any results or not, the student government should be that group that pushes for more ties with local restaurants.

Tempe’s Barrett dining hall is the Shangri-La of ASU. Students who live on campus know how luxurious it is — steak and salmon have occasionally been on the menu — but students who don’t have a meal plan there, including Barrett students on other campuses, don’t often experience the grandeur. Since Barrett’s meal plan is so expensive, students with other meal plans have to pay a few extra dollars, usually out of their M&G accounts, to eat there.

To facilitate more interaction between campuses, the Barrett dining hall could give students the option of pre-paying for a certain number of meals there and adding those meals onto their cheaper meal plan. They would still have to pay more for to go to the palace of Barrett, but students who have trouble keeping track of their M&G, like me, after spending it on important groceries, like chocolate milk, would have no trouble going to Chateau la Barrett.

On a simpler note, we need to cut down on the chicken patties. A “BBQ Chicken Sandwich Special” should not consist of a chicken patty sandwich with strange red stuff on it. It’s time for real chicken. Breakfast burritos, however, are delicious. An increase in breakfast burritos is a big step in the right direction.

Most importantly, thanks to the dining hall staffs. The people who show up to work when it’s still dark outside, and then cheerfully ask students how they’re doing are part of the attitude that makes the dorm life great.

Jack lives off breakfast burritos. Contact him at

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