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Splattered pats of butter will not dot the newly refurbished ceiling of Annenberg Hall, as Dining Services has replaced the Union's pats, cherished as projectiles by generations of first-years, with a large bowl of butter and a serving knife.
University dining halls actually stopped regularly using pats three years ago in an effort to produce less waste, according to Director of Dining Services Michael P. Berry.
The pats have proven phenomenally resilient, however.
Last year they briefly returned to the Union after a food poisoning scare, until bowl-serving was ruled out as the cause of the health problems.
The pats appeared once again this year, as Dining Services emptied the Union's freezers for the move to Annenberg.
But, alas, the pats have been banned for good now. Berry explained that individual packets are now only used for catered affairs at Harvard.
Despite the fact that current first-years were still in high School when the pats made their brief comeback last year students dining at the Union yesterday blasted butter bowls, citing speculation about the health risks of communal condiments as the reason for their preference of pats.
"I hate bowls of butter," said Josephine S. Noble '99. "It's unsanitary. I don't want people's crumbs in my butter."
Chaundra C. King '99 said, "It's much less sanitary obviously. People do a lot of nasty stuff. Germs will get into the butter."
Berry downplayed bulk serving of butter as a health risk, noting that University dining halls serve salads in a similar fashion.
He also said that Dining Services was acting well within health codes and following the example of many restaurants.
"We weighed the benefits and the risks, and we think it's fine," said Berry, noting that students were involved in the decision.
First-years seemed far more concerned with the aerodynamic implications of the change, however.
Many said they felt cheated of their chance to defeat gravity by launching a pat of butter onto the Union's ceiling, citing a long tradition of dairy ballistics.
"It's one of the three things that you need to do [before graduation]," Ryan T. Heslop '99, said, alluding to other hijinks traditionally performed in and around the Yard.
"I kind of liked the pats of butter," said Gary L. Ford '99. "They were easy, nice and flingable, good projectile weapons."
Some took the switch personally.
"It's bad. I haven't done my butter thing yet, and I'm pissed," said Travis D. Wheatley '99.
Even Berry joined the chorus of would be Davids against the Goliath-like ceiling of the Union.
"I always found it a rather enjoyable tradition," he said. "Maybe we should have one last go at it before we close the building."
Berry added that the Union ceiling is cleaned twice a year with a cherry picker to remove butter remnants.
Some students said yesterday they have accepted the change and will continue their attempts to join the rarefied ranks of successful slingers.
"It would really be cool if someone could get a bowl of butter up there," said Jon K. Natchez '99.
Berry expressed hope that the high-flying tradition would fall by the wayside with the closing of the Union.
He said that he felt butter bombs would be an inappropriate tradition to bring to Memorial Hall, a structure built in honor of students who died in the Civil War.
"Hopefully, there will be more appropriate traditions," he said.
Alexandra R. Wilkis '99 offered a suggestion based on past food flinging experience.
"They used to do ham at my old school."
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