By Anna Püsök
With the kickoff of the new semester, Sewanee Dining introduced changes to the meal plan. In congruence with the Advent semester, off-campus visits are prohibited for the Easter semester, so students rely more than ever on offerings from Sewanee Dining.
McClurg Dining Hall has extended its hours from 7am to 8pm with no breaks, differing from last semester.
Rick Wright, director of Sewanee dining, said,, “We have opened up most of the options in McClurg.” Including the SUM line, where students can build their own bowls. The Vegan line is back, expanding options for students with allergies and food restrictions.
In reference to the Omelette line from the pre-pandemic world, Wright said, “We tried the omelette station and other cook-to-order stations in the beginning of the semester. It creates unsafe clusters of students and a traffic bottleneck that we felt was unsafe.”
The Green Box Program provides an opportunity for students to take out their meals while avoiding single-use to-go containers. The program saved more than 18,300 disposable containers from the landfill in February.
McClurg already hosted two special events this semester, a Lunar New Year celebration and Mardi Gras, where special dishes were available. Chef Rick said, “we certainly hope [to organize more special nights], it is a bit more difficult to engage and interact, but the food we can produce.”
Besides McClurg, Cravens is available for continuous hours from 7am to 8pm Mondays through Thursdays. On Saturdays, Cravens is fully closed and on Sundays, they are only open for dinner.
Compared to last semester, Cravens extended its menu, so now students can get handhelds, grab-and-gos, specialty sandwiches, quesadillas, and rice bowls. They also offer daily specials, such as nachos on Sundays and ramen soup.
As Cravens is off central campus, the university provides shuttle service from the Wellness Commons from 11am to 2pm. The shuttle also stops by the University Bookstore in the Village, so the full circuit takes about 10 minutes.
The Tiger Bay Pub continues to host the Omelette Line, which was once a sector at McClurg. They also make various hamburgers, curly fries, tater tots and wraps.
In reference to Late Night Pub, which was open Friday and Saturday nights pre-covid times, Wright said, “We are recruiting staff, I am uncertain of the date we can open until we have the staff to move forward.”
One of the biggest changes compared to last semester is that Stirling’s is no longer included in the meal plan.
Peggy Owusu-Ansah (C’23), started working at Stirling’s last semester and said, “it was crazy. I worked in the Saturday opener shift for the first time, which was from 8:30am to 12pm, and I was put straight to food. In that shift alone, we made over 200 sandwiches, and I would say, over a 100 were for the meal plan.”
She said “it was about making sandwiches really fast. It was very chaotic, but then, we came up with the refrigerator system, which allowed us to pre-make the sandwiches.”Now that the meal plan is off of Stirling’s menu, workers have more time to breathe.
“Now, it’s slower and we can make things like the drink of the day, or a new specialty meal, which has been fun,” Owusu-Ansah said.
The change allowed Stirling’s to extend its menu with new sandwiches and salads, like The New Green’s View Veggie and the House Salad with Roast Chicken. Some new specialty drinks became available, such as the Vietnamese Ice Coffee and the Muddy Water on the Rocks.
Stirling’s was able to bring back some of the general favorites, such as avocado and house-made croutons. A Stirling’s favorite, the Brie Platter, is also back on the menu, much to the joy of Sewanee students.
Owusu-Ansah said “It’s definitely a lot different now; we pay a lot more attention to detail too, which I really appreciate. Now, we’re also getting the chance to train new workers on certain things like food, drinks or dishes.”
Wright said that they “will make changes and enhancements as we build capacity and add resources.”