By Meghan Smith
At McPherson College, our cafeteria and dorm life are a little different from how they were before COVID-19 regulations were implemented. In my opinion, both of these staple college functions have remained similar, but have made some much-needed improvements due to the pandemic. The cafeteria has made steps to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, while allowing students to still eat together. Dorms and college housing have added regulations but living with other students is always a risk during these times.
Before classes started, it was rumored that the cafeteria wasn’t going to open, and they would only allow carryout and to go meals. This didn’t happen. Instead, they had students sign up for 30-minute time slots for every meal of the week. The time slots were supposed to limit the number of students allowed to eat at one time. However, this wasn’t enforced at all, so every student eats whenever they can. Since it isn’t enforced, almost all students come to lunch and dinner at the same time, making the cafeteria packed still.
New dining rules have been put into effect. Smaller tables and booths only allow for two students, and the larger tables only have five students at a table, one less than usual. Every student and employee must wear a mask, unless you are seated at your table and eating. Also, everything is self-serve, from food, to salads, to dessert, and even condiments. Along with that, students aren’t allowed to have refills on drinks, instead, they must get a new cup each time they run out of their drink. One of my favorite changes is easier access to carry out or to-go orders. Students can go through the upstairs mainline or go downstairs for a fast and easy to-go option. This addition allows students to eat outside or in their dorms, away from crowds. Overall, I think that keeping the cafeteria open has made it possible for students to stay social while not putting everyone at risk and all the change has helped protect students more.
In college, I live in an on-campus apartment. It is within a short walking distance of campus but allows me to have a little more space and freedom than a dorm room does. I live with three roommates and share a room with one of them. During times like these, I am so grateful to be living with my roommates. They help me relax, they always make me laugh, and we just have a good time together. Between all of our numerous activities, jobs, and homework assignments, we try to have some fun. We will cook together, talk and hangout, or go get some Taco Bell. Campus isn’t what it used to be, but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else besides McPherson College.
This is in response to Prompt #3 from Campus ReBoot, an interactive documentary in collaboration with the University of Hartford and other colleges and universities in the US, China, and Australia. For more information and to see other responses, please visit the Campus ReBoot website here: https://susancardillo.wixsite.com/campusreboot