I agree with Michael Kreicher's op-ed that the long lines for food on campus can be a problem ("College Dining Woes," Oct. 7). Though not on campus this term, as an '07 I have had my fair share of half hour waits for a tuna melt and many Courtyard Caf lines that I have simply walked away from.
Though I know Mr. Kreicher's suggestion for webcams in the dining halls is a joke, I wish to propose here a practical alternative that Dartmouth may want to consider as it builds new dormitories and reconfigures old structures.
The main problem that I see with Dartmouth dining options is this; the majority of options, barring the Pavilion, Home Plate dinners and Food Court lunches and dinner (non grill or sandwich) are made on the spot for you. While I know Dartmouth students like to think of themselves as unique, is it really necessary for the majority of their meals to be? At other colleges and universities I have visited, and at my current home the University of Edinburgh, this uniqueness is marginalized or simply non-existent. In its place, students dine on a variety of pre-made options that can either be served by employees or taken in a buffet-style.
"But hold on a second," you say, "I like my meals made just for me! Don't get rid of that!" Fair enough. But my plan can help you too. Here's what I propose.
I think that Dartmouth, say in the new dormitories, should construct a cafeteria that is strictly buffet style. However, unlike other buffet-style operations in which one gets charged for entrance to meal area, the new cafeteria should follow standard DDS policy of a la carte dining. In this model, not only could students go to the buffet and eat, but students could also quickly grab food from the buffet on-the-go instead waiting on a long line to have their food individually made for them. The hopeful end result of this new dining option would be threefold: a place to grab a quick lunch or dinner before returning to practice/work/pong, a facility that could serve more people in a quicker fashion, and, for my friends who only want individually prepared meals but not the lines that go with them, resulting shorter lines at the grills and sandwich bars.
Who knows if this dining establishment exists in Dartmouth's future and the minds that are currently shaping it. All I know is that it's a real solution that could actually solve the problems raised by Mr. Kreicher -- problems I think our entire community would like to see solved.