UDS offers new form of Grab & Go

Grab & Go meals must be ordered by noon online a day in advance.

Anna Weggel

It seemed like a convenient solution to biochemistry sophomore Yun Lai’s demanding day. But it didn’t pan out the way he planned.

“I didn’t get to eat lunch that day,” Lai said. “It was just crappy.”

To try combating his busy Thursday schedule, Lai said, he wanted to try a University Dining Services Grab & Go lunch, a meal option for students with tight schedules.

“I thought I’d just try it out, but I forgot to pick it up,” Lai said. “I prefer the old way where you just go in and grab one.”

Before this year, some residence hall cafeterias had a section where students could pick up lunches during the day and assemble the lunches themselves.

Now, the lunches must be ordered online by noon, one day in advance, and are personally made by UDS staff in Coffman Union.

UDS Director Larry Weger said one of the reasons the change occurred was because of problems with last year’s Grab & Go lunches.

“There wasn’t a lot of predictability,” Weger said. “Students wouldn’t get what their preference was.”

But he said he thinks this year’s changes will benefit students and eliminate product waste.

“Our goal would be to have the product when it’s needed and when it’s wanted,” Weger said. “It would be a tremendous benefit in convenience to the student.”

Biology sophomore Megan Schoft said she frequently ate Grab & Go lunches when she was a first-year student to help her stay awake during class.

Schoft said that after UDS began to be stricter about what students could put in their Grab & Go meals, she stopped using the service.

“I thought it was really annoying,” Schoft said.

“I don’t understand what’s so hard about the cashier just giving you a bag,” she said.

Neuroscience sophomore Trista Kleppin said the new system offers less convenience for students and wants to pay according to what she eats.

“The cost should be less,” Kleppin said.

But Weger said he thinks the amount paid for each lunch is fair.

“Our goal is to provide students with value for their dollar on all levels,” Weger said. “You pay for convenience, and you pay for the supporting infrastructure in meal plans.”

Weger said he thinks the overall advantages to the new plan will outweigh any loss in convenience.

“I can understand where it may limit flexibility on one side,” he said. “But, overall, the goal is to ensure that the product’s available, fresh and that we minimize waste.”