Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

The dining hall still has major improvements to be made

The Point Park dining hall is the go-to place for students to grab a quick bite while utilizing their meal plans. Many freshmen and other students frequent this place, as food around the area can be expensive. However, there are times where eating in the dining hall may not feel safe.

The food at the dining hall is filling but not very tasty. At times the food procedures in place are worrying, especially after finding a bread tie in my sandwich last week. 

The handling of food allergies is hazardous. From personal observations, we have noticed how the peanut butter lies open next to the jelly, butter and cream cheese. Leaving allergens open next to each other is a real issue for individuals with peanut allergies since improper handling of the knives can lead to cross contamination. Touching the serving tongs and spoons after other people, especially when eating finger-food afterwards, is gross.

There are poor options for students who follow vegan or halal diets as well. While there are sometimes vegetarian options available, they are not always labeled nor consistent, which can lead to confusion.

Adding to confusions with what is available and what is not, the dining hall menu has not been viewable to students since the third week of the spring semester and has not been available since. Without access to a menu, planning meals becomes very difficult.

What makes planning one’s meals is the restrictive hours of operation. It’s understandable that employees can’t be at work too long working many shifts due to their personal lives, but the dining hours need to be more accommodating for students. This would be less of an issue if the hours were visible outside of the dining hall, but they have never been posted for the entire semester. Students can only find out the hours of operation through the university’s website, which finding the right links can be difficult.

To remedy this, the hours of operation should be posted on the exterior of the dining hall and in frequently visited locations around campus. There also needs to be communication about when the dining hall closes, especially during breaks when many students plan to rely on this resource. Many students, including myself, were left unaware that the hall closed over spring break, which led to food insecurity.

At night, there needs to be food options for students who have busy schedules. Many students, especially those in COPA, have schedules that run until 10 or 11 p.m. In these cases, neither campus food facility is open, leaving vending machines as the only option available. Chips are not a viable meal.

Worries about food safety only continue when realizing that the dishes have not been washed properly.  If you pick up any dish in the dining hall, you may notice how they contain streaks and feel like they’re covered in a film. This isn’t to say that they don’t wash the dishes, but rather they need to be more thorough in checking and maintaining cleanliness standards.

Better quality control should be implemented into the university’s culinary services to ensure that the dining hall remains a safe option for food consumption. There also needs to be efforts to make sure that vegans and those with dietary restrictions have options everyday. There needs to be positive change in the dining hall to better serve students who pay and rely on this facility every day.

Read the rest of this piece on ppuglobe.com.

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