Friday, November 27, 2020

New times to chow down

Previously scheduled changes to Plattsburgh State dining hall hours and venues have been put into effect with the beginning of the school year in response to declining enrollment, College Auxiliary Services Director Wayne Duprey said.

To avoid increasing the food prices because of a smaller student population, Duprey said dining venues had to strategically adjust hours. Algonquin, Subway and Griddles now close an hour earlier than previous semesters, and Late Night at the Sundowner has also been modified, closing at midnight Sunday through Thursday instead of 1 a.m.

Despite the fact that the dining establishments are open for less time, other improvements have been made.

Clinton Dining Hall, which has been subject to student criticism, was one of the main targets of these improvements, Duprey said. He noted the goal with Clinton was to create a restaurant-style feel while increasing food variety selection and customer satisfaction.

“A significant effort was made to improve the overall
dinner variety and price per plate,” Duprey said. “Fresh food is always available, and we now have two executive chefs working in-house.”

One of the more significant changes to PSUC dining was the addition of Einstein Bros. Bagels. Einstein’s is located on the first floor of Hawkins Hall, and their menu includes fresh bagels, specialty sandwiches, soup, salad, and a variety of hot and cold coffee drinks.

Hawkins previously had a small café in the patio area, which was supplemented by transporting food products from the Angell College Center to Hawkins where they were sold. Now, all food is prepared at Einstein’s, which has eliminated the need for constant shuttles between Hawkins and the ACC.

“We were looking for an all-day platform,” Duprey said. “Something that would be self-sustaining and benefit the concentration of students on the north side of Broad Street.”

Duprey said the addition of Einstein’s to campus was brought about by a detailed process that involved testing products and gathering student feedback about those products from multiple businesses who were competing for the spot. The companies were required to provide samples of their products, as well as provide information about their pricing to the college.

Bringing Einstein’s to campus also involved physical changes and renovations. The PSUC Gospel Choir office, which was previously located directly next to Einstein’s, was relocated, and the space now serves as preparation area for the restaurant. The floor in the main dining area was redone, and new tables and chairs were added.

The changes that have been made regarding PSUC dining have received mixed reviews from students, and the biggest pushback has come from the adjustments made to Algonquin’s hours of operation, Duprey said.

“Algonquin was one of my favorite places to eat on campus,” PSUC junior Eric Marcus said. “I think it’s ridiculous that they cut the hours when it feels like campus is more crowded than ever.”

Though some are having issues adjusting to the modified hours, some students said they believe the good outweighs the bad.

“Although I was very disappointed with the hour cuts at most of the dining halls, I was pleasantly surprised by the improvement to Hawkins Café,” PSUC junior Mitchell Falanga said. “I feel that Chartwells is stepping in the right direction with their facelift to the facilities on campus.”

Email Thomas Marble at thomas.marble@cardinalpointsonline.com.

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