Crisis In The Coop At Colgate Continues
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Crisis In The Coop At Colgate Continues

Dining hall disappointment needs to be dealt with.

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Crisis In The Coop At Colgate Continues
QPK Design

The O'Connor Campus Center and I have a long, complicated history. In the past two years, the Coop has gone from my favorite place on campus to an emotional labyrinth that I, in vain, attempt to navigate each weekday. In case you missed it, I had a lot of emotions about the Chartwells takeover of Colgate dining last spring. In spite of this, I did the math and decided it would be fiscally worthwhile to invest in a block meal plan for the semester.

And then, the fire nation attacked.

Or rather, the Coop crisis hit the fan faster than you could say "meal swipe, please."

The Meal Plan Options

Look, Chartwells. You are not being sly with the functionality of the meal plans. It's abundantly obvious to even the most naïve onlookers that the intricacies of the meal plan are designed to ensure that you are making the highest profit per meal as possible.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F09%2F18%2F6360983064362151881675206752_tumblr_n1f50tvzKP1s6hrz6o1_400.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=125&h=9b2c970222ff7eab6d32fc867e3631d0aa0a14c8328b523af91190284ccd4156&size=980x&c=1288980241 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F09%252F18%252F6360983064362151881675206752_tumblr_n1f50tvzKP1s6hrz6o1_400.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D125%26h%3D9b2c970222ff7eab6d32fc867e3631d0aa0a14c8328b523af91190284ccd4156%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1288980241%22%7D" expand=1]

Let me explain.

A meal consists of one entree, three sides and a beverage. No single human person can actually carry this amount of food to the register. It's indeed a humorous spectacle for one to try to get the full value of their meal swipe. With a meal plan that features unlimited swipes, this isn't as big of an issue as you are unconcerned with fully utilizing each individual meal, but on a block plan, any time that you aren't getting the full value of your meal with a swipe feels like a huge scam.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F09%2F18%2F636098309848672983-916114056_infomercial-car-wash-dropping-stuff-1365724147B.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=116&h=c8292566fd092993116f34efb8fe0e6449b78bbd7fe1fbb5c448631d168c3423&size=980x&c=3590287512 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F09%252F18%252F636098309848672983-916114056_infomercial-car-wash-dropping-stuff-1365724147B.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D116%26h%3Dc8292566fd092993116f34efb8fe0e6449b78bbd7fe1fbb5c448631d168c3423%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3590287512%22%7D" expand=1]

Me trying to use my meal plan to its fullest potential.

Foods that you cannot apply to a meal swipe include specific retail items (i.e. any pre-packaged, non-Chartwells items) and any sushi that not marked as part of the meal plan. For the record, the entree sized sushi options are not only laughable but also few and far between. This system makes navigating the Coop meal options even more chaotic than they were previously. On a campus where virtually all underclassmen are required to have a meal plan, there should be no situation where a student aims to buy food in their campus dining hall to be told, "You cannot pay for this using your meal plan."

Under Sodexo, a meal swipe had a fixed amount that you could spend (about $8 for lunch, and $11 for dinner). Under this system, you could always get the most bang for your buck. You could get a sandwich and a drink, or a personal pizza, some chicken tenders, and a yogurt. You could mix and match the myriad of options housed in the Coop whatever way you saw fit. It actually made sense. You didn't have to go in with a strategy and a few friends as back up. You could just choose what food you wanted, pay for it with your meal plan. You know, like how a meal plan should work.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F09%2F18%2F636098314117279008-1020928649_giphy-1.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=1017&h=ac7289b2f10616f21f3b264647ce07758b6aca89505d29357fb84f542099ebc6&size=980x&c=764901452 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F09%252F18%252F636098314117279008-1020928649_giphy-1.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D1017%26h%3Dac7289b2f10616f21f3b264647ce07758b6aca89505d29357fb84f542099ebc6%26size%3D980x%26c%3D764901452%22%7D" expand=1]

Also, the fact that a slice of pizza from the Coop costs more than a slice of pizza from Slices is nothing short of absolutely ludicrous.

The Food Area Layout

Let me break this one down for you.

There are too many signs with not enough information. Please get your pointless branding out of my face and just tell me what the food costs and if I can apply it to a meal swipe.

Not enough people use the DIY-salad bar to justify the amount of real estate it takes up. The options are lackluster and but a few brave souls are trying to mess with fruits and veggies that are so openly exposed to the Colgate plague.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F09%2F18%2F636098314592214104-1037523979_gross_no_thank_you_supernatural.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=285&h=a73912f2f20dd8fb4f2a23a9ff03adbf38afdc5aa32a1cf527702fc40fee907e&size=980x&c=939587650 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F09%252F18%252F636098314592214104-1037523979_gross_no_thank_you_supernatural.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D285%26h%3Da73912f2f20dd8fb4f2a23a9ff03adbf38afdc5aa32a1cf527702fc40fee907e%26size%3D980x%26c%3D939587650%22%7D" expand=1]

Enough people come to the Coop looking for to-go options that it would justify expanding the on-the-go options cooler. Also, enough people are seeking to-go options that having to-go containers readily available is a no-brainer. If Chartwells isn't losing at least 15 plates a day I would be surprised.

Everything feels like it is in the way of something else. Which brings me to my next point.

The Condiment/Utensil Station

Who decided it would be a good idea to put a station where multiple people at a time would be standing still immediately at the exit of the cash register? There is simply not enough space given to this area such that it meets its demand. What only makes the issue worse is that it creates an enormous pedestrian traffic jam for people who are exiting the food area with their meals.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F09%2F18%2F636098316063272236820968523_giphy-2.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=234&h=e9d746e906940c654e0a5e567c2f11ab1cb88ac2bfe81cd6ffec0fd6fc35a821&size=980x&c=3664930048 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F09%252F18%252F636098316063272236820968523_giphy-2.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D234%26h%3De9d746e906940c654e0a5e567c2f11ab1cb88ac2bfe81cd6ffec0fd6fc35a821%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3664930048%22%7D" expand=1]

Getting a fork should not become a contact sport.

Under Sodexo, the condiment and utensil station occupied the space where there is currently some kind of a cabinet being used to grow God-knows-what. No one comes to the Coop to watch grass grow--move the condiments and utensils back to where they were before and give them the space that they deserve. This space can even feature another garbage can so the one at the Coop's exit isn't constantly overflowing. Maybe you could even fit more condiment options instead of just mayo and BBQ sauce.

Can't think of any condiments that are lacking? I have an idea.

The (lack of) Honey Mustard

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I don't know how this issue has still yet to be dealt with.

The students want Honey Mustard back in the Coop so badly that someone has made a Twitter account that's sole purpose is to berate the Colgate University account until honey mustard returns.

I even talked to the SGA President, who personally assured me that he could bring honey mustard back to the Coop. The other day on the quad, he excitedly directed me to Coop promising that honey mustard had returned!

I'm sorry, but no one wants your gnarly "homemade" honey mustard salad dressing. Stop pretending like it's impossible to get bulk honey mustard. After literally four seconds of research, I found the exact iconic honey mustard that used to flow bountifully from the Coop on Amazon.


I don't know how much more clear I can make myself. Dearest Coop, please heed my advice and stop being the worst. You spend a lot of time trying to prove to the campus community that you're listening and that you care about the feedback you receive, but you spend very little time making tangible changes that accurately address the qualms of the students that are shelling out major bank for what they hope would be an enjoyable on-campus dining experience.

End this nightmare, bring back honey mustard, and redeem the senseless kludge that the Coop has become.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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