Friday, August 15, 2014

Frat Boy: Saga Dining Hall - Part 1

For four years, almost every single week day of my academic career at Northwestern, I endured mediocre dining hall meals that were sometimes borderline inedible and I loved every minute of it. It’s hilarious how prospective students wonder about the dorm food. Yes, you want to go to a college that has decent food but is that really the deal-breaker? I guess my perspective has to do with the fact that if I based my choice to go to Northwestern on the quality of the food I would eat during my time there, I would not have chosen to go to that university.

Part of it was my own choosing.

One of the reasons I chose to live in the Plex because there was a dining hall on the bottom floor of the dorm. This seemed really convenient and it was especially nice on days when the weather was bad. Only a minority of the dorms on campus had dining halls on the bottom floor.

Eating at dining halls wasn’t the only option on campus. There were a caf├ęs and different dining options a Norris, our student union. You could use credit from meals at these different places. For the most part I ate at the Plex dining hall.  

The Plex cafeteria was split into two sides. The west side had made to order meals. You could ask for a specific kind of salad or sandwich and the person behind the line would make it ready to order for you. This food was fresh and with the addition of a small convenience store near the entrance of this side, made for a nice dining experience.

I ate on the west side a couple times, but in general, I stuck to the east side, the worse of the two, because that’s where my family, my frat and my social circle, NUMB-Mu-Alpha-Iota would gather.

Why did we choose to eat at this cafeteria? There were better cafeterias not too far away and it’s not like we didn’t have a better option on the west side of the building. Honestly, I have no idea, why, it’s just the way we did things. When anyone questioned this choice over an especially bad dinner, we would laugh off this very reasonable and logical question like they were asking us why we had heads.

It was like the bar in Cheers.  Whenever I walked in, I’d see someone in our social group happily greet me. Even though I almost always had morning classes, coming to lunch and seeing everyone there felt like the true start of my day.

It wasn’t perfect but it was ours, and oh, how we made it ours. Sometimes it was in small ways, other times it was in big ways and one time our effort to make this place our own got us kicked out.

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