The State of Villanova Dining: An Era of Sophistication


Courtesy of Natalie Zickel/Villanovan Photography

Villanova introduced new silverware and dishware this semester.

Sofia Krzewicki, Staff Writer

When Villanova students filed into their favorite dining halls in mid-January, on the eve of a new semester, something was very different. Instead of the flimsy, floppy paper plates, plastic utensils and sometimes patronizingly small cups, students grabbed warm, freshly washed dishes, stainless steel utensils and filled hard plastic cups with their favorite drinks. Once finished, students loaded their then empty plates onto a dish conveyor belt. 

“I like the new plates and utensils because the trash doesn’t get as full,” first-year student Adam Stuecheli said.

It was the same food Villanova students loathe and love, when served on real plates and utensils, but it elevated the quality and brought a level of sophistication to Villanova Dining Services. 

Last semester, the circulation of a video containing images of a live grasshopper found in a pre-packaged salad container from the Belle Aire Terrace in the Connelly Center stunned students and raised questions about the quality of Villanova Dining Services. 

However, the new year brings changes to the dining experience, including the addition of real silver and dinnerware. 

The transition certainly took students by surprise. It was met with mixed reviews, yet most seem optimistic and appreciate the switch. Yet, there are concerns about the complete eradication of the paper plates and containers.

“I think it was weird how they just didn’t tell us [about] the switch,” another first-year remarked, “I prefer the boxes…because you can take it to go.”

While it is still possible to take food out and back to a dorm or another location, it is a rarity these days on campus. As a result, the dining halls are increasingly popular at mealtimes, as students struggle to find a space to enjoy their food with proper plates and silverware. 

The dining environment looks cleaner and more presentable: it is nice to see students gathered around a long table with friends, sharing a meal without the cardboard excess that often littered tables and overfilled garbage cans.  

Dining Services has implemented a self-service model on occasion, especially during breakfast. Students have commented on the awkward portioning in previous semesters; the lack of consistency in each scoop of food can be frustrating. With self-serve, that problem is solved: students can take as many or as little as they desire. 

Additionally, at Café Nova, one of campus’ most beloved retail dining options, students can once again compliment their Chipotle-style rice bowls, flatbread pizzas or chicken parmigiana sandwiches with a scoop (or two) of Villa Dolce gelato, with flavors ranging from the classic vanilla and chocolate to more exotic and creative ones, including strawberry cheesecake, apple crisp and blood orange sorbet to name a few. 

If this is an attempt to repair Dining Services’ bruised reputation, then it may just be a successful one. Or, if it is merely in the spirit of January and making changes in a new year, then it is a change still celebrated and welcomed by Villanova students.