This past Wednesday, I ambled up-campus for lunch at the Haverford Dining Center (hereby referred to as “the D.C.”). I’ll admit I wasn’t in the greatest mood; I had a midterm in the afternoon, the weather had chosen incessant rain as its occupation for the day (don’t even try the Seattle card…), and I had absent-mindedly stepped in a puddle. I was disgruntled to say the least.
The D.C. doors beckoned a temporary escape from stress and I hurried in. The warmth of the indoors was a welcome reprieve from the dankness of the day, but a festive cow cutout and hundreds of accompanying cookies proved to be the serotonin boost I needed. It was Milk and Cookies day!
The D.C. has a set rotation of meals (on about a month-long system), but every now and then, the D.C. will surprise Haverfordians with a special themed meal. Milk and Cookies day was the most recent occurrence, but we’ve also had a popcorn-palooza and an apple assemblage. In addition, the D.C. also showcases local produce in monthly (and aptly named) local foods dinners. These meals are incredibly popular; they’re not only scrumptious but they also demonstrate the Dining Center’s commitment to an eco-friendly service.
My favorite themed meals, however, always come in the form of ethnic meals the D.C. puts together. Spanish Tapas were the entrée of choice a few weeks ago; last year I had the pleasure of experiencing a Cambodian dinner so delicious it prompted a napkin note. These napkin notes, so called because they’re written on actual napkins, are the students’ means for communication with D.C. officials. Scribble a note on your napkin (preferably unused) and tack it to the public bulletin board and John Francone, the director of the D.C., will comment back within 24 hours. Napkin notes are the D.C.’s version of the self-governance I mentioned in my first post; students are encouraged to write napkin notes with suggestions, comments, and questions – and the D.C. actually listens!
By now, I hope I’ve made it clear that I’m a big fan of the Dining Center. The creativity and flexibility that the D.C. embodies make for a great dining experience; the D.C.’s inherent nature as a social crossroads – a place to bump into friends – makes for a great community experience. Haverford only has one dining hall, so the D.C. has the additional function of social hub. This really does translate to a tighter-knit community. I’ve spent hours (too many hours) at the D.C. chatting with friends, and I firmly believe that the basis of many friendships have their roots in the red chairs of the D.C.
I did dub this blog as one centered on the reasons I chose Haverford, so I should admit that food was not actually a great deciding factor in my college admissions process. The community ideals that the Dining Center manifests did, however, influence my decision to choose Haverford; the whimsy of the D.C. ended up being the proverbial icing on the cake.
So, to wrap up my Wednesday – I left the D.C. with my midterm still looming, the rain still raining, and a slightly less wet foot, but I was in a supremely better mood. My time in the D.C. consisted of many cookies and laughs with my friends, and as I headed off to class, I had another reminder of why I belong in the Haverford community.