How do you feel about the dining options and services on the Shepherd University campus?
Ask almost any Shepherd University student this question and the majority of responses will typically be unenthusiastic at best. I am not interested in moaning or complaining about the dining services here at Shepherd.
Instead, I simply would like to point out some flaws and drawbacks that I have come to recognize after attending this distinguished University for four years. I would argue that the most obvious drawback to the dining options at Shepherd is just that—the options. I recognize that Shepherd is a small university in a small town. However, deciding where you will grab a bite to eat is often a dilemma. This is especially true for students who live at Shepherd University.
Just think, if you reside on the Shepherd campus there are only four locations you can choose from where you can use your meal plan. These include the dining hall, the Ram’s Den and Fireside Bistro, the Ram’s Mart and the Wellness Café.
The dining hall has stated hours of 7:15 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday. However, there are many periods during these operating hours where you may walk in and find little to no hot food available.
The Ram’s Den and Fireside Bistro are viable places to eat with various selections, but only during the weekdays as they are closed completely on the weekends. Moreover, there are designated hours at the Ram’s Den and Fireside Bistro where meal plans are not permitted to be used, so do not be surprised if you stop by in between classes, order a meal and then find your meal plan is not accepted for the time being.
The Ram’s Mart, despite its small selection, is an excellent place to grab a few snacks or groceries you may be in need of. However, you can find this option available only from 5 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and by the way, your meal plan isn’t accepted here.
You may have noticed that during the weekends, places to eat are at a low and if you are a student that resides on campus, you are well aware of this. The only options available to students on the weekends include the dining hall and the Wellness Café (which is only open Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.).
If you’re at your dorm and you find yourself hungry on a Saturday or Sunday, your choices on campus are clearly limited, but the variety of restaurants in Shepherdstown are limited as well. McDonald’s, Sheetz, King’s Pizza and Subway rank as the main establishments available to Shepherd students. Nonetheless, many students cannot afford or are just unable to leave campus to eat as they rely on their meal plans, so during the weekends these individuals are left to depend on the limited options within the campus.
To be honest, I always have found the brunch in the dining hall on weekends to be excellent. However, often the food at Shepherd is nothing more than average. It is not out of the ordinary to have cold or stale food or to find certain foods, snacks and beverage selections in places such as the dining hall to be completely gone or out-of-stock.
With all this said, it has to be recognized that the dining services staff at Shepherd University are hard working, personable and helpful. In my humble opinion, these men and women, some of whom are students as well, consistently provide a pleasurable dining experience despite flaws with quality and facilities.
The Shepherd University dining services employees have good intentions and they are striving to make improvements despite limited resources. No university is perfect. However, it is important to provide adequate and quality dining options to all Shepherd University students. This is an important aspect of college life and the available dining options can have a dramatic impact on prospective students when they are deciding where to attend college.
I believe it is critical that Shepherd University continue to look for ways to improve the dining services on campus for the good of the students and for the good of the university’s future. Providing more options and variety along with improved food quality and extended operating hours for current Shepherd dining establishments is where improvements should begin.