Throughout the semester, Binghamton University Dining Services (BUDS) has worked to ensure that students in quarantine and isolation on campus continue to have access to campus dining.
Students were given access to a Google Form where they could request their meals. The meals were prepared at the Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center (C4) dining hall and were delivered by the catering team to the three quarantine locations — Old Digman Hall, Old Rafuse Hall and Rockland Hall. Upon arrival, the meals were then administered to students by the safe-house team at each quarantine location, which was organized by the Office of Emergency Management (OEM).
According to John Enright, general manager of resident dining at BU, the team had to adjust their system, as the number of students in quarantine and isolation rose from three to over 100.
“As the volume of students in quarantine increased, we had to modify the way we organized the orders to better manage the volume as well as maintaining the quality of the meal,” Enright wrote in an email. “We had to add additional team members and implement the use of additional equipment, such as food racks and electrical warmers. Biggest of all was the delivery truck to carry the increased load to the three destinations versus the original single [quarantine] location.”
According to Enright, student feedback has been positive, particularly regarding the implementation of special dinner nights and themed bundles.
Eric Yen, an undeclared freshman, said he was indifferent about his quarantine dining experience, pointing to his inability to taste at the time as the reason why.
“Seeing as the food didn’t taste like anything, it wasn’t difficult to adjust to, as I knew I wasn’t missing much,” Yen wrote in an email. “Overall, the experience was normal. The food came on time and was accurate. However, the methods used to place orders were a bit strange. Done through a Google Form, if you forgot to order multiple hours in advance, then food may not come the next day. Breakfast was a meal I forgot to order often. I’d say the experience was in-between, especially since I couldn’t taste, the quality of the food became a moot point. However, it did come on time and with everything I ordered pretty much every day for the seven days I was in isolation.”
Kristen Rivas, an undeclared freshman, said she was happy with her experience but would have preferred a greater variety of choices.
“Overall, my experience with the food situation was pretty good,” Rivas said. “I definitely enjoyed the various options they provided us with. One thing I would say to change is the breakfast options. They provided a fair amount of options from cereal to bagels to egg muffins, but they were served cold and given the night before. I would love it if they could offer fresh eggs and bacon. Another thing I would change is being able to have the option of ordering outside food. I’m very picky and struggled figuring out what to eat every day. Obviously, I understand this might be a lot to ask, since I know the people working with the quarantine situation are already doing their best to give us a comfortable stay.”
Additionally, Rivas expressed gratitude toward the campus offices that worked to help students in quarantine and isolation.
“I felt pretty comfortable with my stay,” Rivas said. “[COVID-19] itself was not the most enjoyable experience, but knowing I had people to call at [Residential Life] or [Decker Student Health Services] made me feel at ease.”