Many of the recent university dining programs we’ve covered have had less than admirable ratings from undergraduates not encouraging findings when you consider just how important nutrition is to sleep deprived students with their noses permanently stuck in textbooks. Stanford University offered a glimpse of hope with their eclectic, health conscious offerings. PETA even dubbed them the most vegan friendly campus in the country. Fordham University, which prides itself on offering an uncompromising Jesuit education, has earned some kudos of its own à la the noteworthy Princeton Review: worst food (that’s right, in the country). Further investigations and student testimonials tell us that you should absolutely be looking elsewhere if a college well-versed in the culinary arts is high up on the priority list.
Fordham is a private school, meaning that its $41,000 tuition shouldn’t come as a surprise. Nonetheless, that’s still a large sum of money that should manifest in some visible ways. Wherever it’s going, don’t count on your hard earned dollars being allotted to the kitchen. The rate of a meal plan per semester is approximately $2,500 above the national average and dining hall goers don’t feel like the price is worth it in any sense. Here’s what they have to say:
- Cafeteria-style food that students say is repetitive, lacking flavor, not health conscious and hard on the digestive system (Pepto Bismol® is a back to school essential, right?).
- “Sketchy” meal preparation that has found students discovering everything from dead bugs to thumbtacks in their food.
- A general consensus that making the trek home for dinner if possible is always favored over the convenience of going to one of the nearby dining locations. We think that kind of says everything.
- The notion that even with such deplorable national rankings, the school still hasn’t boosted the quality of their food in the eyes of students.
So if the food truly is as terrible as it sounds, then where do students go to eat? That, my prospective Ram, is what we call the silver lining of off-campus dining. When the same old, same old “Chicago Style Hot Dog” is causing an upset stomach before even eating it, students flock to places like: Così, Dagger John’s, Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Mein Bowl, Sub Connection, Aunt Annie’s Pretzels, White Castle and more. Unfortunately, most of these restaurants don’t accept student meal plan points like some other universities offer when partnering with local chains.
Students living on campus are forced to have meal plans, and they’re probably the most disgruntled group of the bunch. One freshmen offered this rather blunt statement: “I have no idea why we stick with [a food service company], tuition is too high to have such bad food. There’s not a lot of options, and the few options we have aren’t great. A lot of the food is unhealthy, but the healthy options [Fordham does] offer are usually disgusting. When eating on campus, you just eat because you need to, there’s nothing enjoyable about it really.”
Dissatisfaction with employees has also been expressed by many students. They proclaim that a majority of workers they encounter treat customers as a burden, and don’t know how to do their jobs efficiently. This often leads to a chaotic environment at dining offshoots like The Grille, where students in between classes never know just how long they’re going to wait for a meal. Students at Fordham should be concentrating on making friends that last a lifetime, getting through that study crunch session and pondering the wise words of a witty professor. Instead they’re just daydreaming about a place where they have a kitchen that’s all their own. Bon appétit, we think not.
If you’re interested in Fordham University, check out our story on Things I Wish I Knew Before Attending.
Ryan James is a ’13 alumnus of Ohio University’s College of Arts & Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in writing and media. He currently works as a copywriter for a Fortune 500 e-commerce corporation based in Columbus, OH.