McDonald’s PlayPlace adds flavor to student dining experience

By Far-Out Farquaad
Fairy Tale Editor

It is no secret that Washington College students love to complain about food. Between the continued nonexistence of Create and frequent lack of functioning soda fountains, dining on campus can range from underwhelming to frustrating.

My own iffy experiences with batches of lukewarm eggs notwithstanding, WC dining has finally turned a corner.

Last week, Dining Services installed a McDonald’s PlayPlace in Hodson Hall Commons in the upper-level seating area upstairs.

According to Gus the Goose, the installation was made possible by Mascots United. Gus met Ronald McDonald at the MU annual conference in D.C. on April 1, where he struck up a conversation with the clown about food service fiascos.

“Ronald heard me out while I spoke about the way people post about WC dining on Instagram and Yik Yak, and he was extremely sympathetic,” Gus said. “He proposed a solution immediately, and even offered to provide funding for the project.”

Over the weekend, Gus and McDonald worked with student volunteers to build the PlayPlace and prepare it for its debut.

“We want students’ dining experience to be fun and engaging,” McDonald said. “A PlayPlace is always the way to go when people are feeling inspired by their meals.”

WC’s PlayPlace consists of multi-layered platforms, slides, tubes, and other similar jungle gym accouterments. The structure is complex enough that it will challenge college students, but simple enough as to not overexert them.

The PlayPlace is optimally located inside the dining hall but away from where the majority of students sit to eat their food. This separation stands in place of the glass wall that often separates dining parents from their romping children in popular fast-food establishments.

The new facility garnered positive reviews for these same reasons.

“It’s cool that the boys and I can hang in the tunnels and have our food without bothering people who want to sit at tables and eat,” freshman Burl Gerr said. “And it’s fun to slide down the slide on the way out.”

Although most students are enjoying the new addition in Hodson Hall, others are concerned about the effects it will have on the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

While some find the feel of sticky ketchup residue and the smell of socked feet nostalgic, others find them gross and unsanitary.

“I don’t really get why they put the PlayPlace in,” sophomore Frieda French said. “I think it’s risky enough that a lot of our food is being served buffet-style again. We shouldn’t be eating and crawling around in a communal playpen right now.”

Others are concerned that the PlayPlace simply distracts from a more pressing problem: the actual quality of the food being served by the College. This concern in particular has been addressed by the project’s initiators.

“Whoever says that the PlayPlace isn’t actually changing anything is just plain wrong,” McDonald said. “Playing around like you’re a kid again — really just letting loose — makes every bite taste a little brighter.”

While there may be drawbacks to the PlayPlace’s installation, it is adding some much-needed flavor to WC students’ dining experiences.

Photo by Alluring Appertures

Featured Photo Caption: The new WC PlayPlace will make eating exhilarating for students and guests of all ages.

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