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Freshmen react: First week dining hall experience

This semester, KentWired will be following the lives of freshmen as they navigate the obstacles of life in college. This series is called “Freshmen react.”
Sara House
The Design Innovation Hub, one of Kent State’s dining halls, located at 800 East Summit St., Kent, OH.

Every August, a wave of incoming freshmen is welcomed to campus for the start of a new chapter in their lives. This transition to college comes with many challenges and adjustments. 

Most students are living away from home for the first time, moving into a smaller space and adapting to a new environment. 

One of the biggest changes that comes with moving to a college campus, however, is the food.

The university has two different all-you-can-eat dining hall options: Eastway and the DI (Design Innovation) Hub. Both dining halls have over 10 sections, each containing a variety of food.

Finding the best option can be difficult and many students have their opinions on the food, like Benny Miller, a freshman early childhood education major. 

“I would say [the] DI Hub has overall better quality,” Miller said.

Cara Myers, a freshman art education major, also felt similarly about the DI Hub. 

Jess and Sydney, two sophomores, spend their morning at the DI Hub August 28, 2023. (Sara House)

“I think I like the DI Hub more because it is closer to where I am,” Myers said. “It is definitely smaller; it gets packed a lot.”

Proximity is another factor students face when choosing where to eat. For example, freshman computer science major Annika Hall has a difficult decision to make when choosing.

“Eastway has better food, but it is farther away,” Hall said. 

Eastway, one of Kent State’s dining halls, is located at 17 Eastway Dr. on campus. (Sara House)

Choolaah, an Indian food station, was added to Eastway in April. Choolaah is accessible to students when they use a meal swipe into Eastway dining. 

“I kinda wish the Indian place was open more because I like it a lot,” Hall said.

Luca Michnowicz, a freshman business management major, said the best food he has had on campus was chicken and rice from Choolaah.  

Depending on the time of day, each dining hall switches food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Brenna Petersen, a freshman ASL/English interpreting major, said she goes to the dining hall two to three times a day. Once in the morning, and then in the evening for dinner. 

Similarly, freshman biology major Connor Lingo said he goes to the dining hall twice a day. 

The dining halls provide an assortment of food options, honoring different dietary restrictions 

Grace Ferrera, freshman psychology major, says the dining halls offer “wheatless options, and people who have dietary restrictions, have options there.”

Brooke Trumpler, a freshman exploratory major, enjoys the diversity of dining hall food.

“It is good that they have different options,” Trumpler said.

The variety of options allows freshmen to find their favorite foods to eat on campus.

Pranav and Brendan, two freshmen, get food from one of the stations at the DI Hub on August 28, 2023. (Sara House)

“Yesterday, I had this really good mac and cheese at the DI Hub,” Myers said. 

Trumpler said her favorite food so far has been the mac and cheese pizza. 

Among the favorite foods mentioned by freshmen during the first week were the salad bar, the waffles, the chicken sandwich and the scones.

Students enjoy the convenience the dining halls provide, making it so they don’t have to spend copious amounts of time cooking or preparing meals.

“[The food] is really convenient, I don’t have to work for it,” Hall said. 

Others commented on the convenience that dining halls provide for grabbing a meal between classes or activities. 

“I feel like it is [convenient], it is definitely on the way to classes and it is not in the middle of nowhere,” Miller said. “You don’t have to go super out of your way to go get food.” 

Marissa Engel, a freshman psychology major, commented on the recurring dining hall food.

Zavion, a freshman, drinks water at the DI Hub on August 28, 2023. (Sara House)

“It is actually pretty good, it is not horrible. It does get repetitive,” Engel said.

Despite its repetitive nature, freshmen have had a largely positive experience adjusting to eating away from home.

“Overall, I think it is good, the food is really good and I think there’s enough options that it doesn’t get boring,” Petersen said.

Olivia Montgomery is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Olivia Montgomery, Reporter
Olivia is a sophomore journalism major with a minor in public relations. She is a general assignment reporter who enjoys writing about anything happening around campus. Contact her at [email protected]

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