At colleges everywhere, there is a commonly held understanding that dining hall food is simply never going to be that good, and cannot compare to a home cooked meal. Especially at Providence College, most students have come to terms with the fact that food quality is one of the College’s biggest weaknesses. As students make their way over to Raymond Dining Hall, they are not expecting a five star meal, and most are okay with that. But at the very least, all students should be able to expect a bug-free meal every time they eat in the dining hall.
In recent weeks, news of the bug problem has spread across campus via various social media accounts. A few photos of food with bugs have circulated around: one of a french fry with a bug encrusted in it, and another of a dead bug lying on a plate of fried ravioli. Shortly after these photos were posted, a video of a similar looking bug crawling along the side of a Ray countertop was shared.
The bug issue has sparked a conversation about some of the more general problems with the food at PC. Several other photos reveal different concerns: raw meat in hamburgers, moldy sandwich bread, and a weird looking green glob of some unidentifiable substance in a glass of water. And few PC students have forgotten about the photo of the infamous dead mouse behind the juice machine posted last year.
The photos, albeit funny on account of their captions, are actually quite concerning. The fact that so many students find the photos funny on account of their relatability is a big problem.
Obviously not every student has found a bug in their food, but nearly every student has had at least one really bad experience eating at PC. It is entirely understandable that there will be mistakes when it comes to food, especially when serving such a large number of people, but one bug is one too many, especially when it comes to the safety and health of students.
Clearly, PC needs to make a change. The students who attend school here—and pay anywhere between $2,070 for the lowest meal plan and $6,030 for the unlimited plan, required for all freshmen—deserve better.
Without a doubt, the PC students who have to pay for and eat the food here should come first. However, the concerns about the food at PC are creating a rather serious issue in terms of the College’s overall image, outside of its students. Various outlets offering reviews of the College, which are frequented by prospective students, have less than stellar reviews of the food.
Niche, a popular website that ranks colleges and offers an overall grade of each school, gave PC an A grade. For the most part, PC received an average of a B+ to an A on specific rankings, like quality of the professors, dorms, campus, and student life. However, Niche gives PC a C- when it comes to food—the lowest grade on PC’s report card, and the only one in the C range.
Rate My Professor, a website popular among college students, gives PC a three out of five rating when it comes to food, once again earning the lowest spot out of any category. Even Princeton Review, a frequently accessed resource for students applying to college, pointed out that besides diversity, dining is the one area that students really want to see improvement.
If PC is not willing to strive to fix these problems with the food for the benefit of the students who attend the College, at the very least, they should make a change in order to improve the image of the school and appeal to prospective students who care about the quality of the food they will be eating.
Overall, a small change can go a long way. In general, both Raymond Dining Hall and the Alumni Food Court are well-kept and clean, and the entire staff is fantastic. If PC can simply manage to improve the quality of its food, PC Dining Services on the whole would be getting much better reviews. Even better, students could trust that the food they eat is safe to consume, and feel that they can depend on PC for a healthy meal.