By Cochise Lucas (Staff Writer)

Wesley College’s cafeteria – the target of many students’ complaints – made changes this year.

To try to satisfy complaints from last year, the cafeteria has added new carry-out containers for use during lunch, extended hours for The Den (previously known as Club Simpson), and put in new “action stations” for students to choose freshly prepared food.

“To-go containers are a good idea,” sophomore Sandra Belzince said. “I need it when my friends aren’t in the lunch room, or I’m going to work.”

Last year, Wesley used Styrofoam to-go trays for only part of the fall semester. These were discontinued by the college because students left them around campus.

Both Student Government Association members and the cafeteria staff worked over the summer to get the particular containers students requested and continue to remain environmentally friendly.

“We’re going green,” said Emily Mcalpin, the residential dinning manager. “We are using bio-degradable containers this year that will be sanitized and reused through the year.”

Some students are surprised to hear about the rules and stipulations that come along with the new containers.

The containers are $5 for students without a meal plan. If students do not bring back the container every time they buy a carry-out meal or lose their container, they cannot receive another without paying for a new one.

The rule that surprised students the most is that they can only use these containers during lunch.

“You mean I can’t do it for breakfast or dinner?” sophomore Will Evans asked. “If I could use the container for all three meals I would probably get one.”

The SGA is talking to the cafeteria about using them for dinner, SGA Vice President Khawaja Abdul Hameed said.

“We want to help the students and student athletes who are in practice, studying, or working to also be able to have this option of take-out during dinner.”

Wesley also changed the cafeteria seats from the circular table seats of previous years to long, rectangular tables.

“We have these new big tables for such a huge incoming class,” Hameed said. “The old tables wouldn’t fit the amount of students we have now, but we are working on spacing.”

“We are doing a lot better this year with seasonal fresh food,” said Peter Buoncristiano, executive chef of the cafeteria. “We have several action stations now where students have a different variety of fresh choices made for them, such as different pastas, stir fry, deli, shakes or salads.”

Wesley also has made The Den exclusively a restaurant-style snack bar where students can get freshly prepared food at any time, including burgers, fries, salads and chicken sandwiches.

“I think that’s a huge bonus, especially for freshman,” Hameed said. “Unlike the past when students had to scavenge for food at night, now they can just go to the snack bar and swipe their card.”

For now, the cafeteria has stepped up with improvements and is still considering more improvements, especially for the to-go containers.

“Having the to-go containers for dinner or breakfast is not in the near future,” Buoncristiano said. “But if students start making requests we will start thinking about it.”

“We want to help the students and student athletes who are in practice, studying, or working to also be able to have this option of take-out during dinner.”

Wesley also changed the cafeteria seats from the circular table seats of previous years to long, rectangular tables.

“We have these new big tables for such a huge incoming class,” Hameed said. “The old tables wouldn’t fit the amount of students we have now, but we are working on spacing.”

“We are doing a lot better this year with seasonal fresh food,” said Peter Buoncristiano, executive chef of the cafeteria. “We have several action stations now where students have a different variety of fresh choices made for them, such as different pastas, stir fry, deli, shakes or salads.”

Wesley also has made The Den exclusively a restaurant-style snack bar where students can get freshly prepared food at any time, including burgers, fries, salads and chicken sandwiches.

“I think that’s a huge bonus, especially for freshman,” Hameed said. “Unlike the past when students had to scavenge for food at night, now they can just go to the snack bar and swipe their card.”

For now, the cafeteria has stepped up with improvements and is still considering more improvements, especially for the to-go containers.

“Having the to-go containers for dinner or breakfast is not in the near future,” Buoncristiano said. “But if students start making requests we will start thinking about it.”