Over the course of the semester, more dining options have become available around campus. The College has introduced food trucks located behind Ruth Williams Hall anda plant-based guest chef in Kittredge Hall for lunch. Pop’s has also returned to McLeod’s Convenience Store for quick grab-and-go type lunches. The Director of Campus Dining and Services Marjorie Shamp mentioned that in addition to mitigating staff shortages, these new services have been introduced to address other logistical issues.
Before the Student Center renovations began, staff and management had been working to figure out the logistics of receiving and storing food deliveries for the Student Center, Knowlton Café and Kittredge Hall. In addition to food management, another problem became prevalent during these logistic meetings: supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While it once took only an hour to place food orders for the dining halls, Shamp explained, “[Ordering food shipments] now takes several hours due to the ‘out-of-stock’ notifications that are received daily for commonly purchased items. Our purchasing staff must search multiple vendors for replacements.” These issues are caused mainly by the national worker shortage that has affected many businesses across the country. Food production companies lack truck drivers, inhibiting the arrival of needed goods to campus. Not only is it difficult for the administration to find and hire workers, but the highly competitive labor market is impeding on the College’s retention rates of employees.
To combat these detrimental supply shortages and ensure that students receive a variety of choices for their diets, the College created a task force of key administrators to offer additional dining services on campus. Consequently, some of the new options include Bully Run Coffee truck, which offers coffee and pastries behind Ruth Williams Hall from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Another addition in the dining services is Annette Swindin, also known as The Green Vegetarian, who visits campus each Monday in Kittredge Hall for a rotation of plant-based lunches. Finally, Grant’s Guac and Roll Food Truck, located behind Ruth Williams Hall has also been added as an option for the campus community on several weekdays for lunch. In addition to these options, the College has reached out to Local Roots Market and Café in downtown Wooster to partner with local chefs trying to build their businesses. Justin Mullis, owner of Oma Gourd Handcrafted Tacos, will serve lunch in Kittredge Hall on Thursdays and Fridays starting this week. On Wednesdays, owners of The Curry Pot Tania and Renoy Barua will offer Indian cuisine in Kittredge Hall for lunch.
Students understand that with the Student Center under construction, and the College having trouble hiring new employees, these new dining options are beneficial for all. When asked about these additions, Aaron Betty ’25, said,“I think [the food trucks] are creative ways to lighten the load on [the Student Center] and Knowlton. It’s really nice having another option than what I’ve been eating for the past month.” Variety is hard to find with the only major dining hall experiencing trouble with food orders due to out-of-stock items. There is usually a rotation of similar food in Lowry and Knowlton, and without the means of transportation to go to different restaurants in Wooster, students feel that eating the same food every day becomes mundane. One student, Morgan Hunter ’25 echoed a popular sentiment on campus, stating, “Many students feel that they are stuck in a box having to largely rely on only one dining hall for diverse food options, whether it be craving something and somewhere different or a physical lack of options for dietary restrictions. While the school is unable to give us the solutions that were once available, this is proof that they hear our complaints and are starting to make a physical effort to accommodate students.”