A Glance into Dining Hall Eating
Large groups of people, endless access, and a friendly environment all contribute to a simple outing to any college dining hall.
Ridgeway commons, a quaint dining hall situated on south campus of Western Washington University within one of the most popular dorm complexes for on campus living. The Ridge is known as a complex of large red brick buildings scattered around the only hill on the Western campus. At the very top of this hill is the Ridgeway Dining Hall or Ridgeway Commons providing a variety of meals from breakfast, lunch, and dinner while serving all food buffet style. With no label and covered by trees, this building can be hard to miss. As a student at Western and one living on the Ridge, the Ridgeway Commons becomes my main location for any on campus dining and although the food may not be the best, where it lacks in taste it gains in social interaction.
The food really isn't that good. Although its buffet style and eating as much as you want will make anyone happy, I can say I have received better meals from hotels complementary breakfasts and 10 dollar ticket meals at any Las Vegas buffet than here. However, they cater well to students needs. Each student whether living on or off campus is available for a meal plan. Meal plans range from unlimited, 175, 100, and 75 meals per quarter and although Las Vegas may give you more bang for your buck an 8 dollar meal at a college dining hall gives you everything you need. They got fruit, vegetables, meat, a salad bar, pizza, burgers, and a multitude of refreshments all available for grabs once you surrender a meal with a swipe of your card.
Despite the bland and continuity of meals, the dining hall has become more then a quick place to get a bite to eat. More people now tend to go in large groups, walking over with all their friends as a place to meet up and stay for an hour or so. Of course this isn’t the case for every meal. Breakfast and lunch are a good time to spend by yourself, reflect on your day or as a nice place to get some homework done. Dinner, however, has more of a unique touch becoming a hub for social interaction. Large groups squishing 10 plus individuals at one table, just so everyone will be together. Dinner is treated as an outing. Just like how people treat dinner at home with their families as a time to be together, they bring that sense of community here.
My Overall Impression:
Eating at the Ridgeway Dining hall day in and day out can get old but nothing beats the sense of community and energy when you enter. Similar to any well liked restaurant, the atmosphere and environment is what attracts you. Time and again the food may get tiring to eat but thats nothing a quick trip to a local grocery can’t fix. Keeping stocked up on groceries is always good for a little change of pace. Overall even if the food isn’t great you are getting full access to a buffet of food whether its in Las Vegas or not, and you enjoy the camaraderie and social connection you feel when sharing your dining hall experience with others.
What are your thoughts on dining halls or buffet style food? Share your experiences!