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Gone are the days of the American grilled cheese and the chickwich. This fall, Harvard University Dining Services ushered in a new era, one where the Vermont cheddar sandwich and the ruby beet and kale vegan burger reign supreme.
The newest HUDS changes, while welcome, are long overdue. Especially at a school where students living on campus have no choice but to subscribe to a full, expensive meal plan, dining ought to be both satisfying and salubrious. And while the HUDS update improves the College’s services on both scores, there is still more to be done.
That is not to be pessimistic, though. In many ways, we herald the HUDS overhaul. Healthy options abound: A greater variety of vegetarian and vegan options at the grill along with creative pre-made salads encourage students with dietary restrictions to skip the golden nuggets and go for something less likely to induce a heart attack.
What’s more, the move to an open servery between lunch and dinner allows students more flexibility and a higher chance of getting the full bang for their tuition buck when they can eat at dining halls rather than out in the square even with difficult schedules.
But that tuition buck is one reason why we look forward to future changes. Board for one semester at Harvard costs $2,830. Assuming a student eats three meals a day seven days a week, this price tag brings the cost of each meal to $8.75. Because most students do not eat this many meals in the dining hall—and because weekday breakfast anywhere besides Annenberg consists of little more than oatmeal and hard-boiled eggs—the true price of a HUDS meal for the average student is likely even higher.
And, though HUDS is doing better, we hope these more promising dining hall days will grow brighter still. As the year continues, we look forward to further efforts for improvement, whether that means a less monotonous rotation of hot-bar dishes or more late-night dining options beyond cereal and goldfish. HUDS should take care to continue soliciting and responding to student opinion when considering these changes, and it should also be transparent in the comments and criticism it receives and the costs it incurs.
Harvard is world-renowned for the education it provides its students. It is unlikely its food will ever meet that standard, but at least it has come little closer.
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