Freshmen waited all year. Signs scattered throughout Findlay Commons promised the arrival of an all-you-can-eat dining area and extensive construction work hinted to students that their wait would soon be over. After months of anticipation, Findlay Commons finally unveiled their new gourmet gallery at the start of the spring semester. Thanks to RAs, news that the buffet had opened spread like butter on bagels. Sadly, the buzz and excitement surrounding the dining hall wouldn’t last long.
In its first few nights in operation, the line for the buffet stretched across the top floor of Findlay. But after three or four days, the line was almost nonexistent. The students had made themselves very clear that they were not on board with this long awaited dining hall.
One downside students quickly picked up on was that there are no trays available for diners to use. The dining hall went tray-less in fall 2015 in an effort to stop students from taking more food than they can eat. Rather than cut down on food consumption, so far this seems to just encourage students to perform impressive balancing acts with their plates and glasses. Try not to be the person who shatters three plates at once!
The drinks available also failed to impress students. There are two fountains with limited Pepsi options that students can then mix with a flavor shot. While a unique concept, Valley was not a fan of the taste. Students prefer a traditional soda machine with more soft drink options. But, the biggest disappointment is the lack of hours the dining hall is open. The commons is closed on Fridays and Saturdays and never serves lunch.
Disillusioned by the new dining hall, students had a lot to say about their experiences.
“I didn’t like the options,” says Krista Martin, a nursing major.
Freshman Kenneth Pam says that “the other buffets at Penn State are way better.”
“It’s a nice option to have if you’re really into all-you-can-eat style dining,” says Joe Nadonley, a civil engineering major. “But the variety and quality was a little underwhelming.”
Despite its unpopular qualities, the new dining hall did get some things right. Valley found the staff to be polite and well trained, especially given that they’re working in such a new atmosphere. Additionally, the salad bar is considerably better than the one found in Pollock’s dining commons with significantly more topping options. The biggest asset of the Findlay Commons addition is its convenience. Since East Halls houses the most students at Penn State, it makes sense for it to have its own buffet. Despite some justified complaints, Valley anticipates the all-you-can-eat dining commons will soon become a staple among freshmen.
One way that Findlay can quickly and easily improve the dining hall’s reputation? Give it a name! Eating at “The Eastery,” “East’s Feast,”or “East Eats” is sure to be a better time than going to “Findlay Commons All-You-Care-to-Eat.”
Valley gives Penn State full permission to use these names—in return for unlimited access to the frozen yogurt machine, of course.