As students this semester adjust to a new normal, some may have noticed that dining services are not all as they once were.
COVID-19-induced supply chain disruptions and employee shortages have led to the closure and limitations of several dining options on campus, according to a recent B-Line announcement. As a result, Nite Owl and the C-Store in Appalachian Collegiate Center remain closed, Tully’s University and CopperTop Pizzeria are serving food under a limited menu and modified hours and various other eateries on campus have made similar adjustments.
Lori Benson, the marketing director for Binghamton University Dining Services (BUDS), said she anticipates an improvement in campus dining availability.
“BUDS continues to work tirelessly to hire more staff and work through the constant product shortages, staff shortages and [COVID-19] procedures that are affecting our community and the world,” Benson wrote in an email. “Every week we are opening more operations and will continue until the entire campus is operating as it has been in the past.”
For some on-campus students situated near affected dining halls — like Carlos Romero, a junior majoring in biochemistry who lives in Susquehanna Community — the disruptions have led to inconveniences.
“I (like many others) have felt the effects of the food supply shortages,” Romero wrote in an email. “The closest dining hall is [Hinman Dining Center], and nearby is the [Appalachian Collegiate Center]. After 8 p.m., they are both closed, so if I wanted food, I would have to walk 20 minutes across campus to the [Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center] (C4) Nite Owl since the [Appalachian Collegiate Center] Nite Owl is closed due to these shortages.”
In the Marketplace, students standing in line at CopperTop Pizzeria, which was closed from Sept. 21 to Sept. 23 amid supply chain issues, faced reduced options. A television screen displayed “Not Available At This Time” over sections of the menu, including sandwiches and salads. Certain other options, including chicken parmigiana pizza and meatball parmigiana pasta, also appear to be unavailable.
A similar notice can be found at Tully’s University, where sandwiches and the buffalo chicken tender melt are currently unavailable.
Taaha Malik, a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering, described the Marketplace changes as having a relatively insignificant effect on his current routine.
“For now, none of these limitations have affected me,” Malik wrote in an email. “Last semester, however, they definitely would have been an issue, as I often went to [Appalachian Collegiate Center’s] Nite Owl. I also went to CopperTop [Pizzeria] for food as well. Different closing times probably would have meant that I would have to change my schedule in order to eat on time.”
According to Bing U News, BUDS has taken various initiatives to alleviate staffing shortages, including working with multiple temporary employment agencies and advertising open positions countywide — even on BC Transit buses.
Kristen Scanlon, a sophomore majoring in business administration, said that nationwide staff shortages may be indicative of a more intricate issue.
“[COVID-19] had a huge ripple effect across the economy, causing massive increases in unemployment and increasing difficulty in manufacturing/transport,” Scanlon wrote. “[New York state] has one of the highest vaccination rates and lowest case counts per capita in the country, so I think that means that solving supply chain issues is more complicated than ending the pandemic.“