The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Campus Dining modifies operations as lines and student complaints grow

Students met Campus Dining’s efforts with backlash, as wait times carried over from dining halls to the food trucks.
Rachael Perrotta
Students wait in line for the Nashville Chicken and Waffles food truck on Alumni Lawn, as photographed on Sept. 9, 2021. (Hustler Staff/Rachael Perrotta)

As of Sept. 6, Campus Dining expanded options for student dining in an effort to make dining options more accessible and varied. Changes include expanded dining hall hours and on-campus food trucks.

Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students G.L. Black and Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain sent an email to students and parents on Sept. 9 addressing questions and concerns about Campus Dining. The email mentioned dining changes to enhance the student dining experience, including earlier opening times at Commons Munchie Mart and breakfast on the weekends. Additionally, the email discussed signs and floor stickers to expedite service and inform students of the wait times. 

We recognize that we did not meet the standards we set for ourselves, and we apologize for any distress the challenges have put on your Vanderbilt experience,” Black and Kopstain wrote in the email. 

Breakfast is now open 30 minutes earlier at 7 a.m. CDT on weekdays at Commons, Rand, Zeppos and E. Bronson Ingram (EBI) Dining Halls. Rand will also be open on weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. continuously, without a break in between breakfast and lunch. Students with earlier commitments said that they look forward to being able to have a full breakfast. 

“I love the 7 a.m. breakfast,” Tri Shriram, a first-year Army ROTC cadet, said. “They actually allow me to go straight from P[hysical] T[raining] to eat, and I don’t feel like I’m wasting time.”

In addition, food trucks will be located by Alumni Lawn and the Lower Commons Quad indefinitely every Monday through Thursday for lunch—11 a.m. to 2 p.m. CDT—and dinner—5 to 8 p.m. CDT—starting Sept. 6. Students will be able to purchase these meals with a meal swipe, Meal Money or Commodore Cash. Nashville Chicken and Waffles, Spread ‘EmSmokin’Buttz, Puckett’s, Delicias Colombiana and The Love Bus were the food trucks on campus during the week of Sept. 6.

“It looked really good,” first-year Ethan Dihenia said. “I would say it’s a good trade-off from the dining hall food.” 

However, lines at the on-campus food trucks have lasted over an hour on most days and nights. Senior Jadyn Rodgers also said that Smokin’Buttz ran out of food at approximately 12:45 p.m. CDT, despite being scheduled until 2 p.m. CDT. 

Cate Allen, a sophomore, stated that the length of the food truck lines defeated their purpose of offering more convenient dining options. 

“It’s better food, but the lines are too long, and I can’t always chalk out that much time during my day to eat dinner,” Allen said. 

Black and Kopstain addressed concerns about long lines at the food trucks in their email. 

“Interest in these food trucks is quite high, and we kindly remind everyone that food trucks are an addition to the Campus Dining program, not a replacement for our core dining halls or markets,” the email reads. “Due to the nature of food trucks, capacity is limited and food is made to order; if lines are too long, students are encouraged to visit one of our other dining operations.” 

First-year Philmon Gashaw claimed that the food truck lines speak to a larger issue with Campus Dining. 

“The food trucks are a considerate albeit too temporary solution to the variety of issues with Vanderbilt dining,” Gashaw said. “Although an understaffed workforce and a lack of food selection are not life-ending problems, they are exacerbated by the sheer volume of students who consume food on campus, easily seen in the two-hour lines to get chicken and waffles.”

The dining hall complaints from the past two weeks sparked a Sept. 7 petition addressed to Vanderbilt administration and Campus Dining, which has gathered 643 signatures as of print. 

“As one of the nation’s top elite colleges with some of the brightest minds in the country and plenty of financial resources, this is absolutely unacceptable,” the petition reads.

A Town Hall is scheduled on Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. CDT, with the main purpose being to address Campus Dining concerns among the Vanderbilt community. 

A previous Campus Dining update on Aug. 31 referenced long lines at EBI, Rand and Commons Dining Halls, and reported similar modifications to traffic flow within each hall to alleviate this congestion. An Aug. 24 update also addressed long lines and food shortages and attempted to alleviate these issues with an on-campus commissary kitchen and the $50 Meal Money initiative.

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About the Contributors
Ekta Anand, Former Staff Writer
Ekta Anand ('25) is from Atlanta, Ga., and is majoring in neuroscience and communication of science and technology in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her dancing with the Bhangradores, watching a good movie or grabbing her third cup of coffee for the day. She can be reached at [email protected].
Rachael Perrotta, Senior Advisor
Rachael Perrotta ('24) is from Cranston, R.I., and is majoring in cognitive studies, communication of science and technology and political science in Peabody College. She was previously Editor-in-Chief and News Editor. If she's not pressing you for a comment, she's probably trying to convince you that she's over 5 feet tall, cheering on the Red Sox or wishing Nashville had a beach. She can be reached at [email protected].
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The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
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2 years ago

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