Bartlett: An Unworthy Sacrifice

Dartmouth should resurrect Foco’s “World View” station.

by Nicholas Bartlett | 10/8/19 2:10am

As I mill about the beloved Class of ’53 Commons (colloquially adored as “Foco”), I cannot help but stop and reminisce on a somewhat nostalgic cavalcade of bygone pizzas and one-off lobster dinners. It strikes me that this glorious facility — this Sistine Chapel of student sustenance — has proven the backdrop of my most iconic collegiate memories. 

And perhaps one feature most tickles my ruminatory exuberance: the halcyon days of the “World View” station. This once ineluctable paragon of exotic cuisine once graced the student body’s collective taste buds with a rotating merry-go-round of culinary perfection, oscillating every few weeks between savory German sausages, wondrous sushi and everything — and everywhere — in between. It was, in my eyes, the poster boy of Dartmouth Dining Services. Yet, come the fall of 2018, the magic simply disappeared like a mightily caffeinated beverage down the gullet of a student prepping for an all-nighter. My beloved “World View” was no more. 

Now, a year removed from the tragedy, I feel it’s safe to presume that this is no mere phase; this is reality. And as such, I think it’s fair to levy some criticism. DDS’s decision to supplant Foco’s “World View” with a stir-fry bar both unjustly and inefficiently robbed our campus of a unique and ambrosial tradition that once embraced the multicultural heritage of our student body — a mistake which they should most definitely rectify.

Don’t misunderstand me here: I love stir fry. I can absolutely grasp why some Foco denizens may have been (and still are) elated with the opportunity to special order their dishes within the snug confines of our grandiose buffet joint. However, as much as I may liken the issue to my own personal preferences, much of this debacle simply boils down to redundancy. 

For tantalizing though it may be, stir fry is no novel commodity amidst the campus’s culinary landscape. Far from it — it’s a staple … just not of Foco. Instead, the heralded moniker of stir fry dispensary belonged to its sibling dining facility, Collis Café, which has toiled away for years in the pursuit of an efficient and savory means of made-to-order stir fry. And aside from the equally beloved “Collis pasta,” one could even go so far as to anoint this their signature dish. 

Pray tell, then: How exactly does the student body benefit when the distinct and oh-so deliciously palatable “World View” segment finds itself deposed by an inefficient facsimile of our already-existing dining hall? Well, say we presume that an insatiable demand for stir fry led to the switcheroo within Foco, is it not fair to question why Collis pasta and Courtyard Café foodstuffs — both of which elicit obscenely potent student demand in their own right — did not receive similar treatment? If three quasi-equitable cases thereby receive vastly disparate treatment, I believe it’s safe to hazard that the common factor, in this case demand, was not the galvanizing factor behind this corpulent culinary conversion. Yes indeed, the dissolution of “World View” was little more than bemusing redundancy.

But the quagmire runs far deeper than a mere inefficient allocation of campus-wide resources. For “World View” was more than a chance to devour delicious cuisine — “World View” was a microcosm of our wondrously diverse and multicultural student body. Just this year alone, the vigorous Class of 2023 added their own dash of spice to our campus’s cultural melting pot. You’ll find students who hail from each of America’s 50 states and over 60 different nations; students who adhere to one of 49 distinct religions; students who grew up in a mesmerizing variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. 

Diversity, for all intents and purposes, is Dartmouth. Unrelenting exploration of disparate and splendiferous beliefs and cultures comes with the territory. “World View,” therefore, emblematized the very nucleus of our culture. It encouraged and allowed us students to bask in inexorably mouthwatering confections from all corners of the world — foodstuffs which, to some, aren’t foreign at all. 

Thus, by robbing Foco of its once impeccable and multicultural offerings, DDS has swindled the student body out of its chance to share their respective heritages — their stories — in the form of tasty cuisines which may otherwise be tough to procure here in small-town New Hampshire. “World View” was never just about the food; it was simply a delicious means to an even more delectable end.