The combination of returning students and freshman enrolled at Virginia Wesleyan University have reaped overcrowding and structural changes in the caf.
At the start of the fall 2017 semester, President Miller announced the opening of the new Greer Environmental Sciences Center, a recent addition to the Virginia Wesleyan University campus, subsequently completing the quad. However, President Miller has signified that Greer will not be the only building contributing to the quad.
A new addition to the Boyd Dining Center, also referred to as the caf, is in the near future as well, and both new and returning students feel that it couldn’t come soon enough. Overcrowding and other health issues have been reported.
“I had multiple instances that I had to inform the staff on duty about their cleanliness. During the first instance, at the home-style food station, there was a loaf of moldy bread in plain sight. The second instance was during breakfast and there was mold once again, this time on the muffins,” senior Cassetty Howerin said.
Howerin was not the only one to complain about circumstances in the caf. There have been recent stories released, including one last year from the Marlin Chronicle, on the cleanliness and understaffing with the University’s food partner Sodexo. This year others have complained about overcrowding and having to eat at the tables outside of the caf.
“It is hard as a freshman to schedule things around your classes and having to avoid the caf for lunch because it is so overcrowded just makes things even more difficult,” said freshman Dani Stewart.
While these are both legitimate concerns to be had among students, President Miller offers hope in lieu of the complaints. Once enrollment grows from the current 1,350 full-time students to 1,500 students, there will be additions made to the caf to accommodate the student body. The current caf is set to be able to handle 1,400 full-time students and enrollment has not yet reached that number.
“When we get to the point that we have 1,500 full-time students enrolled, we will be looking at building an addition off of the front of the Boyd Dining Center, that would be additional dining space and a decorative front area that would become the commons. It would provide space to accommodate that kind of growth. 2019 is probably when we will do the addition to the commons that will include the addition to the cafeteria,” Miller said.
President Miller was adamant that the overcrowding in the caf will not last for long.
“Congestion usually occurs the first week or two and the people get into a different pattern based on traffic and it becomes more of a balanced operation. Once the first two weeks settle in and people get in their habits it spreads out a lot more,” Miller said.
In the meantime, he has offered some accommodations to keep things running smoothly in the caf.
“We have scheduled wiser anticipating the larger population so there are more people working to hopefully accommodate things in a faster way. Sodexo is a good national business, they are experienced and responded well when we informed them that we would be anticipating a larger crowd,” Miller said.