At Simon’s Rock, there are two ways of obtaining an evening meal: Dining Hall and Snack Bar, or as it is more elegantly called, the Rock Cafe. The former typically has a variety of options ranging from vegan to meat lovers, and the latter is for fast food aficionados, or those unlucky enough to miss proper dinner elsewhere. In either case, meals are available with the universal Simon’s Rock currency of equivalencies: digital meal tickets that can be redeemed using one’s ID. These equivalencies, however, are hardly equivalent.
In cash, one meal in the Dining Hall costs about $9 and one in the Snack Bar costs roughly $6.25. However, in reality, they are paid for with the same mealtime equivalency. The disparity between these two values is obvious, and it is reflected in the substance of the food. Essentially, no matter the method of payment, the value, and therefore quantity of food, is notably different at both locations.
For $9 at the Dining Hall, one more or less gets as much food and variety as one might need, and for $6.25 at the Snack Bar, one can get a mere hamburger and french fries, or an equally minuscule meal. A minute helping of unhealthy fast food is vastly inferior to a plateful of mixed proteins and vegetables.
The former could be said to be better simply due to the taste, but the quantity and nutritional value trump any sort of gustatory splendor. Physical health is rarely the primary concern of stress-addled students, after all. This leaves students wishing to eat a meal and enjoy it, stuck between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, Snack Bar fast food is less filling and less healthy, but it sure is tasty. On the other hand, Dining Hall food is more substantial and nutritious, but it’s as hit or miss as a soldier with two broken arms.
Had Chartwells scrumptious food, the deep-fried delicacies of the Snack Bar would be wholly unnecessary. Students ultimately battle between tolerable taste and their own health, which should not be mutually exclusive. If the Dining Hall had both, then the Snack Bar could serve as intended: a satisfactory enough recourse for students who have happened to miss dinner. As of now, the situation devolves into a choice based off of whether or not the Dining Hall food is ingestible, not the intended arrangement of the Dining Hall being the first option then Snack Bar being a backup.
Nonetheless, the inequality between the amount of food at both establishments is an issue. If the two establishments worked in conjunction then the issue would be lesser, but it still stands that some students inadvertently get less food than others. Therefore, the students should be given an equal value of food at both the Snack Bar and Dining Hall, and further effort should be put into incentivizing eating dinner, in turn solving the skewed dichotomy between the Snack Bar and Dining Hall.
Essentially, Chartwells food in monetary, nutritious, and quantitative value is quite disparate between the Dining Hall and Snack Bar. While backup options are rarely equal to the original, they should be in situations such as this, especially when it is easy to give the students the same monetary value that they would have received at the Dining Hall. More fast food is hardly a good thing, but for ravenous students who put thought into what they eat, a proper meal is imperative and should be provided.
Angus Finn MacLeod