By Emma Reilly
Washington College students flocked toward Hodson Hall Commons when the new dining options were unveiled the week of Aug. 29. Java George — reimagined as a We Proudly Serve Starbucks location — and Freshens offer alternatives for students looking to grab a bite to eat.
At Freshens, students can purchase smoothies, flatbread sandwiches, salads, and more. Java George will continue to offer pastries and prepackaged snacks in addition to Starbucks coffee, espresso, and signature drinks.
Students in search of a caffeine fix are eager to check out the College’s updated coffee location, according to Dining Services Employee Macenia Johnson.
Trends in the drinks students are enjoying are already noticeable.
“I would say at first people were more so ordering the strawberry refreshers, just because we had a limited menu. Now I would definitely say the espressos — lattes, macchiatos — are going like crazy,” Johnson said.
Some WC students, like senior Ala Day, are more creative with their orders. According to Day, her go-to Starbucks drink is an extra-shaken unsweetened Venti iced green tea mixed with mango dragon fruit base and with no water or berries.
“I’ve been getting that for three years. I’m really excited that I can have it at school now. I don’t have to drive to Middletown for Starbucks,” Day said.
Some students prefer the expansive menu and Starbucks branding that Java George now boasts to Chestertown’s off-campus chain coffee offerings.
“I’m looking forward to Starbucks, because I like Dunkin’ but I like Starbucks better,” sophomore Lila Kenny said.
According to Johnson, she is looking forward to serving students its fall specialty flavors, which include apple and pumpkin spice, and which are now available at Java George. Though the location is still awaiting its cold brew product, Johnson said that it is sure to be a big hit.
Customer traffic was heavy throughout Java George’s reopening week and the location remained busy once espresso was available to be ordered, according to Johnson.
As for Freshens, students are glad to have access to fresh meals.
“I think it’s really good, I’ve been liking their salads. It’s better than what’s upstairs [in Hodson Hall],” sophomore Kate Stevenson said.
This sentiment was mirrored by Kenny. “I’m really excited about Freshens because I feel like it’s a healthy option on campus. I really like the orange sunrise smoothie,” Kenny said.
The contrast is especially noticeable to students who frequented Martha’s Kitchen in semesters past, according to sophomore Zoe Laughlin.
“It makes me feel healthier which is pretty nice, because it’s not just fried food,” Laughlin said.
According to senior Rosemary Onyema, Freshens’ options are a welcome change of pace — but there is still room for improvement.
“I like Freshens, it’s a really healthy option,” Onyema. “I just wish it was open until later in the day so that if I am hungry later in the night I still have that healthy food option.”
Oneyma recommends Freshens’ power protein bowl to anyone looking to test out the menu.
Java George is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Freshens is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Photo courtesy by Grace Hazlehurst
Photo Caption: Freshens is the second downstairs dining hall option to open this semester.