By Heather Fabritze
Elm Staff Writer
Dining Services reinstated their ice cream machine on Feb. 11, as an early celebration of Valentine’s Day.
The machine, which was out of commission since COVID-19 sent everybody home in the 2020 spring semester, reopened during lunch hours that day and remained available for use since.
Students can find the machine next to the drink station on the same side of the Dining Hall as the Rooted station. Currently, there are three soft serve options — vanilla, chocolate, and twist — and various cones available depending on the day. Certain toppings, such as marshmallows, chocolate chips, and chocolate sauce, are also situated next to the machine.
Dining Services was unable to reinstate the machine sooner due to a missing part and COVID-19 protocols.
According to Assistant Director of Dining Services Kayla Young, the administration wanted to keep self-serve contact to a minimum.
“We have been slowly bringing back more ‘self-serve’ items now that COVID-19 safety protocols have started to lift and felt that it was time for the ice cream machine to make its return,” Young said. “We were going to wait until it got a bit warmer, but a few students asked in January, so we thought it would be a nice Valentine’s Day gift.”
The status of the ice cream machine has been a persistent concern for the larger student body since in-person school restarted. Upperclassmen often reminisced over the days when they could get ice cream in the Dining Hall, and many underclassmen were unsure if it ever even existed.
Sophomore and SGA Secretary of Student Life Kamden Richardson received “a lot” of emails about the machine and ensured that Dining Services was aware of how much students still cared about its return.
“When people have issues with the Dining Hall…the secretary of Student Life is their advocate for that,” Richardson said. “If they have issues that they need to raise, they can go to them and the secretary will make sure that those issues get brought up to administrators and people who can make a change about it.”
Richardson finds it “really exciting” that WC students are so enthused about the machine’s return, and has been told that some are swiping into the Dining Hall just to get ice cream.
“I’m glad that it’s back on campus and I’m glad that students [can]…get ice cream and cheer themselves up,” Richardson said.
Freshman Emma Parker-Watt is one such student who finds herself cheered by the act of getting ice cream in Hodson Hall.
She views it as a sign that the state of campus is returning to a state of normalcy.
“I’m so happy to have the ice cream machine back,” Parker-Watt said. “Upperclassmen always talk about how D-Hall used to be, so it’s exciting to see that we’re getting back to the old norms.”
Young is also grateful that the Dining Hall seems to be returning to a pre-COVID-19 status quo, choosing to treat herself to an old love of hers.
“I had [a cone] for the first time yesterday — it used to be my favorite thing in the dining hall — but I’ve been trying to forget that it’s back so my waistline doesn’t suffer,” Young said. “But I caved and it was so good.”
Photo by Izze Rios
Featured Photo Caption: After the return of the ice cream machine, junior Jon Kelly stops to enjoy a cone of twist soft serve after his lunch in Dining Hall.