Editorial, Opinion

Is saving money worth the distaste of the dining hall? | Editorial

It’s only a month into the spring semester, and we are already tired of the dining hall.

From the chicken tenders at Warren Towers to Marciano Commons to West Campus — the food all feels the same.

This is only worse for students with dietary restrictions, who are limited to one or two options such as the vegan station or salad bar.

It doesn’t help that the lines for the more appealing stations — Warren or Marciano stir fry and the Chipotle-style station — are seemingly always long. We get why students prefer them, but surrendering to one of the repetitive, less fulfilling options is often the case for most.

Annika Morris | Senior Graphic Artist

BU’s anti-waste initiative, while well-meaning, adds to the wait, as it uses smaller bowls and portions, causing students to take longer time seeking multiple bowls to have a satisfying meal.

Plus, the hours of arguably the best — though underappreciated — Fenway dining hall are egregiously inconvenient. The dining hall closes at 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and at 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday, making it less accessible to students who only have time to eat later, particularly those who live on South campus.

The other dining halls, while open later, tend to close certain stations upwards of an hour early despite 8:30 p.m. being a reasonable dinnertime for students busy with evening classes and extracurriculars. 

Sure, if the dining hall is closed or the food doesn’t sound appetizing, you can use dining points to buy food at certain on-campus restaurants. This makes for a necessary break from the repetitive, dissatisfying dining hall scene.

That being said, most options on campus feel overpriced.

From Einstein Bros. Bagels in the College of Arts and Sciences to Breadwinners in the Questrom School of Business, you can’t scan your Terrier Card without making a mental note of your remaining balance.

Even City Convenience seems overpriced. Whether students drop in nightly for a study beverage or make weekly runs to stock up their snack drawers, City Convenience is pricier than it should be for college students.

Unfortunately, with how repetitive dining hall food quickly becomes, it’s usually worth dropping upwards of $12.49 on a “naanarito” from Halal Shack at the George Sherman Union.

Of course, then the dining points disappear in our collective attempt to avoid the dining hall — students with the popular Open Access and Open Access+ meal plans will go dining point broke quickly, but even those on the Weekly 10+ will use them up while neglecting to utilize their 10 weekly meal swipes.

Beyond dining points — for both irritated meal plan havers and students living off campus — there’s the option to simply spend your own money on food. But grocery and restaurant prices only further burn holes in our pockets.

Students often can’t go for a grocery run without facing the effects of rising food prices. This is only worse when it comes to the prices of healthier options such as fresh produce.

Plus, students don’t always have the time during the day to cook for themselves — and splurging for fresh fruit that goes bad because you don’t have time to eat it is just money down the drain.

Going out to eat isn’t any better with how expensive Boston restaurant prices are. It’s unfortunate for those of us who want to hang out with friends on the weekends while struggling to keep our purse strings tight — it seems our bank statements shed a tear as soon as we leave our doorsteps.

And don’t think ordering through DoorDash or UberEats will offset transportation costs. These apps add extra fees for delivery and tax, and there’s a tip on top of that. More often than not, ordering delivery is double the price of the food itself.

But students are prone to falling into the trap of ordering food often, whether it’s out of convenience or a lack of time to cook — or, once again, to avoid the dreaded dining hall.

At the end of the day, we’re grateful to have access to so many dining options at BU and in Boston. 

The dining hall is ideal for students looking to save money, but it’s just the case that the food is unpleasant sometimes, especially since many of us are used to our parents’ cooking back home.

Sure, there are alternatives to the dining hall through dining points and off-campus grocery stores and restaurants in Boston, but their prices are disincentivizing and add more financial burden.

It’s not like we constantly have a hefty tuition price tag hanging over our heads, right? 

This Editorial was written by Opinion Co-Editor Lauren Albano.

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One Comment

  1. This wasn;t good at all i searched everything up and it was all fake cause f your broke just say just make more money it is not that hard.