A Shepherd student eats a meal in Ram's Den after hours. Photo by Ryan Little

OPINION: Ram’s Den creates a conundrum for students’ colons

College cafeteria food has long endured a reputation for subpar quality. Amidst this perception lies Shepherd University’s Ram’s Den.  

Over the years, students have become very familiar with the infamous ‘Rams Den Shits,’ a term that quite obviously hints at the description.  

But what exactly is the cause of this digestive dilemma? Which culinary offerings are to blame? And are there any truly reliable options on the menu?  

The concerns from Shepherd University students surrounding the impactful quality of this hell-of-a-dining hall extend far beyond rumors.

The reign of discomfort and digestive distress, humorously termed as the “Rams Runs” or “Den Diarrhea,” highlights the unfortunate reality experienced by many. 

Lucas, a student at Shepherd who wished to only be addressed by his first name, brings up the popular conspiracy.

“…Rams puts liquid laxatives in something, whether that’s the drinks or I don’t know what but it’s in something,” he said.

Additionally, an anonymous student associates their gastrointestinal discomfort specifically with the chipotle mayonnaise sauce or chicken nugget day. No matter what, it all seems to end with the same conclusion, best summarized by a quote from Lucas.

“Typically, after I eat Rams, I get the Rams Runs like about 30 to 40 minutes after consumption,” he said.

These students’ experienced stomachs also bring up the diabolical nature of the so-called fresh ingredients’ provided by Ram’s Den.  

“It’s all like high sodium cubed deli ham. The bacon bits are actually just bacon fat,” a student who wished to remain anonymous said, speculating about the authenticity of meat in salads provided by Ram’s Den.

Concerns have also been raised about the questionable quality of condiments used to drown out the bleachy taste of lettuce. There’s an unease about the origins and composition of the food served. 

 However, there does seem to be a unanimous decision about safe foods.  

“The onions are not bad. The onions are always fresh typically…” – “Some days it’s safe, some days it’s not safe. But yeah, sandwiches are like the big older brother– like they’re always there to protect you,” said another anonymous student.

The Ram’s Den experience has some room for improvement, characterized not only by its culinary offerings but also its vital need for digestive trust.

It’s well understood that it’s difficult to feed hundreds of people, but it’s important to fuel students with healthy food to guide their well-educated minds.

Hopefully, there will be a fix to this colon conundrum because one thing remains clear: The need for quality assurance in campus dining services has never been more pressing to our bowels. 

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