Experiencing NS 4880’s Themed Dinners on West Campus

Every spring, dietetics students of Nutritional Sciences 4880: Applied Dietetics in Food Service Systems learn how to operate and manage a food service system with practical, hands-on application culminating in themed dinners in West Campus dining rooms. Students are “divided into teams to work with Cornell Dining chefs to design a nutritionally balanced, yet creative and delicious dinner for the greater Cornell community,” and several of us in the dining department had the pleasure of experiencing and reviewing each themed dinner this year. Here’s what we thought!

JONES | Stop Forcing West Campus Residents to Buy Unlimited Meal Swipes

Big-eyed and stunned, my friends and I gasped while reading a brochure for a West Campus main house. It was as if someone listened to all our complaints about our freshman dorms and knew exactly what we wanted. Clean restrooms, air conditioning and proximity to Collegetown were enough to convince us that West is the best. But no exceptional amenity comes without a hefty price tag. Living in the West Campus House System includes a particularly frustrating commitment: enrolling in a dining contract for unlimited meal swipes — a massive $3,000 semesterly bill that totals to a rough $4,500 cost of living on campus.

JONES | West Campus House Dinners Should Be Open to Everyone

One Saturday last spring, my friend and I found an open piano room in the basement of Becker House on West Campus to break away from reality for a moment. I talked, laughed, but also enjoyed the sounds of the piano I could produce. Inspired by my playing, my friend encouraged me to perform in Becker House’s talent show later that month, which he was hosting. Unfortunately, as we later discovered, because I was not a resident of Becker House, I was unable to participate in the talent show since it was held during a House Dinner. House Dinners, held every Wednesday night in each West Campus dining hall, are a distinct occasion in which the House Chef prepares a special menu, entertainment is provided by Cornell’s student organizations and faculty and students come together.

Dining Hall Diversity: Being Vegetarian at Cornell

As I navigate my way through West Campus dining halls, Trillium, Terrace and yes, even Okenshields, I realize my appreciation for Cornell’s food extends beyond the meals the University provides and into the accessibility and openness this community has for vegetarians and vegans alike.