Let me begin this by saying I am not an angry person. I strive to be calm, cool, and collected (like a cucumber). However, nothing sends me into the five stages of grief faster than when I walk into the dining hall at an hour during which it is still fully open, only to find that the food options are limited.
Let me continue by saying that I love Sharps. (An aside recommended by the editor: I do not believe in calling it Narples or New Sharps, it has always been and will always be Sharps.) You will be hard-pressed to find someone who attends or enjoys Sharps more than me. I am at the dining hall for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. I appreciate the variety in the food, and as a vegetarian, I am grateful to have multiple options for protein at most meals. Additionally, as an athlete and someone who simply cares about their health, I find it imperative that I have nutritious and filling food, and Sharps, for the most part, has more than met my needs.
I have many gripes with the dining hall, and many of them have already been spoken about at length. I can be angry about how we removed trays to use less water while failing to install urinals. I can be angry about the master staircase that changes width and direction. I can be angry that I need to walk up and down stairs multiple times to order from the grill or get the upstairs food options. I can be angry about the lack of a quiet room to do work in. I can be angry that the centerpiece is an electric pizza oven that offers substantial quantities of nutrient-poor food. I can be angry that there is music playing at 8:10 a.m. when I am trying to enjoy a quiet breakfast and finish a reading for class. I can be angry at the lack of long tables, making me occupy four or six seats should I want to eat alone. I can be angry about the lack of staple options in the free zone — why can’t it offer pasta or protein on a regular basis? I can be angry about the lack of a popcorn machine and hot chocolate.
None of these, though, are as important to me as when Sharps’ food options disappear early.
Please, please for the love of all things: if you say you close at 8 p.m., please have the same food offerings at 7:45 p.m. as you do at 6:30 p.m. If the meal swipe costs the same at 6:30 as it does at 7:45, I should be able to access the same quantity and quality of food. Too often will I arrive at the dining hall after 7:30 to find the vegetarian offerings to be rice and vegetables and the only source of protein as veggie burgers and eggs. As grateful as I am to Mike for making me veggie burgers and eggs for dinner, I don’t think that should be the only option if I want to enjoy a balanced meal. When I can make dinner before 7:00, my plate will often end up with options from both stations downstairs and the vegetarian station upstairs. I appreciate that I can almost always find tofu, beans, or some other protein option.
When I arrive later though, these options are frequently missing. I should not have to show up at 6:30 to be treated to the privilege of waiting in long lines and struggling to find a table in order to get all the dining options. If it is the dinner hours, then the food for dinner should remain consistent. I wouldn’t even mind if the vegetarian options were brought downstairs, and only the lower level stations were opened, but the frequent lack of protein-dense and high quality food at closing time is undoubtedly problematic.
To put it shortly: Sharps, if you say you close at 8 p.m., please close at 8 p.m. Love, your #1 Fan, Matt