The Return of the New North: Mixed Feelings in a Love-Hate Relationship

Author: Ellie Buerk, Ashley Lo, and Alison O’Neil

New North"
Stephen Landy

After 10 months of tireless construction, North Dining Hall’s long-awaited restoration has finally arrived, welcoming students back with bright novelty. Construction workers have replaced the old brown-and-green carpet with one of charcoal and steel-gray tones. Gone are the scratched wooden tables and chairs, and in their place stand booths and sleek plastic-and-metal furniture.

North Dining Hall’s renovation marks not only a leap forward in architecture and interior design, but also in ease of access. The new east entrance means Mod Quad dwellers no longer have to trudge across North Quad to eat a meal — particularly important in the winter months. Once inside, students can swipe their cards, step through the newly installed glass barriers and, without much trouble, easily locate an empty table.

Wielding new plates and cups, students now find themselves offered a larger variety of options, including previously withheld athlete specialties. With the disappearance of athlete training tables, avocados and other delicacies are now accessible to all students. Additionally, homemade pasta is now offered, as are allergen-free and vegan options.

“They really upped their food game, especially the cereal selection,” sophomore Allison Huffman said.

However, despite all of North’s wonderful upgrades, problems still remain. Students often find the many lines confusing and frustrating, and the set-up still seems foreign and difficult to navigate. Cuts in appliances (including omelet pans and smaller toasters), as well as the seemingly random placement of cream cheese and butter at the opposite end of the dining hall, make things all the more difficult to locate.

“The way the food is structured means you have to walk from point A to B to see all the food,” said sophomore Emily Luong. “But at SDH, you just walk in a short circle. It takes a lot longer to browse at North. The designs of booths and tables are really nice, though.”

As Luong pointed out, North’s frustrations prove trivial in light of the many improvements the renovated dining hall provides, including the new marketplace that has replaced the grab-and-go station. Instead of taking meal swipes as South’s grab-and-go continues to do, the marketplace allows students to pay in Flex Points. While a benefit to some, this new change has been taxing on others.

“I don’t have enough flex points to buy a meal every day and I have no time to go South Quad because I live on North Quad,” says Pasquerilla West resident Abigail George. “Now I have to fast on Mondays and Wednesdays.”

The much-anticipated return of North Dining Hall has been met with both fervent support and reasonable dissatisfaction. With a few minor corrections, it might redeem itself as the top dining hall on campus.