GUEST COLUMN A great dining program is a community effort
I am pleased to announce that MIT’s new House Dining Program is off to a great start, and I am looking forward to seeing the program develop over the coming year. The best news may be that the students are telling us that they are very happy with the food, but there are many other things to be pleased with, including the renovated dining halls and the ability to offer breakfast and lunch.
Keeping this dining program great is a community effort. The Division of Student Life’s Office of Campus Dining and Bon Appétit are ultimately responsible, but we need you to let us know what you enjoy and where you would suggest changes or improvements. The observations, questions, requests, and (respectful and constructive) criticisms of those who eat in the dining halls are really important to this program. So I want to thank the many students who have already taken the time to let us know their thoughts.
I want to offer some information on feedback that we have received: three aspects of the new program that students have applauded, and three where you have asked for improvement or change.
Three things you say are going well
1. Appealing food. Students are happy with the quality and variety in the dining halls.
2. Eating together. Housemasters and students alike have reported that it’s really nice to see the dining halls full of students talking and socializing over a meal. It’s wonderful to see the GRTs, housemasters, faculty, and staff at the tables, as well.
3. All-you-care-to-eat service is being well received. I have personally spent a lot of time in the dining halls and am seeing students at the different stations try a variety of cuisines.
Three aspects where you asked for change or improvement
1. The online menus have not been posted consistently. We realize that this has been frustrating to many, and Bon Appétit is working to correct this problem. Keep in mind, online menus may occasionally vary from what is offered in the dining hall if and when the chef finds something fresh and local to add or substitute that day.
2. Some of the specialty stations were delayed during the first weeks. I am happy to report that all but two stations are now up and running. The crepe station in McCormick and the rotisserie station in Simmons still need specialty equipment, but we are working with Bon Appétit to resolve this as soon as possible.
3. Hours of operation for breakfast and brunch. The new House Dining Committee, which has a significant number of student representatives on it, will be addressing system-wide issues such as service hours. Stay tuned for more news as this committee begins its work.
I want to thank Bon Appétit for their hard work during orientation, the hurricane, and the official rollout of this program. As important, thanks again to the students who have taken the time to let us know what they think. Keep sharing your positive comments, as well as your suggestions for improvement, by contacting us at email@example.com. Both are helpful.
We appreciate your thoughtfulness, your ideas — and your patience. Please know that we are listening so that, together, we can make this one of the finest campus dining programs.
Henry J. Humphreys is the senior associate dean for student life.