By Abby Wargo
Editor in Chief
The dining hall will look a little different for Washington College students come January.
The entirety of Hodson Hall, including the dining hall area on the second and third floors, is receiving new flooring. All of the tile and carpet will be replaced with gray wood vinyl.
“It’s going to look really, really good, it’s going to make the place look a lot more together, a lot more beautiful,” said Prince Johnson, assistant director of Dining Services.
Johnson said there are also plans to update the “comfort food” line to look more modern and streamlined with the rest of the stations.
Johnson said the changes reflect the growth within the dining program.
“I think it also speaks to the change for students, from being at the high school level into the college level for a more mature dining experience,” he said.
When the spring 2019 semester begins, there will be a welcome back event to showcase the renovations. On January 24, Dining Services is bringing in two nutritionists to show students how they can build healthy, balanced meals in the dining hall.
“Sometimes, students struggle with trying to find [healthy options]…there’s so much you can do, there’s so much that’s customizable that we can do,” Johnson said.
The nutritionists, who are visiting from UMBC and Marywood College, will be available to answer student questions and help students find ways to make the dining hall food fit their needs.
The nutritionists will be visiting in part because Dining Services wanted to address the concerns of the students with gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan dietary restrictions.
“We’re here to make sure that you have what you need, that you’re getting enough protein, whatever it is you’re looking for in our dining facility,” Johnson said.
In the retail stores on the lower level of Hodson, like Create and Martha’s Kitchen, Johnson said, there will be menu changes as well as improvements in efficiency, customer service, and training implemented next semester. Johnson said there will be chefs working in the retail areas to ensure quality and efficiency.
So far this semester, Dining Services has been working to improve the program and become more student-friendly. They have restored cable to the TVs in Hodson and placed speakers in My Pantry so that music can be played during meals.
Dining dollars are now less restricted, meaning they can be used at any time, in any amount, for any item. Students can now buy cases of beverages from Java George using their dining dollars, for example.
There has been an increase in the use of dining dollars since the meal plans were revised, according to Johnson.
Next semester, Johnson said he plans on hosting at least two or three town hall-style meetings to get feedback on changes made and meal plans as well as hear suggestions for other changes that could be made.
“We’re trying to keep the program alive and fresh,” Johnson said. “The dining hall can sometimes be almost like the hub of the campus, so we have to keep it fresh. As much feedback as students can send me, I’ll take it, I want it.”