7-year Student Compares and Contrasts: Old School vs New School at WCU

To the editor:

I know that all the students as well as faculty/staff get tired of hearing about and reading articles on the development of this campus or the lack thereof. So, I am going to add to it. But first, let me introduce mysel£ I am a senior here at Western Carolina University. I have been going to college for 7 1/2 years now. I spent three years in the US Army, thus I have traveled to many places. In my travels and my experience in college I have seen a lot of facilities that provide food service.

I must say that the food service here on this campus is revolting and reeks of disgust. As I mentioned before, I am a student of 7 1/2 years. During my tenure here, I have seen three different companies serve the food in Dodson and Brown cafeterias. The first being the state. When the state provided the food, it was plentiful. The students had no need to go to the food court for fast food. The food provided by the state was prepared exquisitely and was delectable. The state gave the students meals like steak cookouts, prepared fresh off-the-bone roast beef, mouth watering country ham and savory salisbury steak. The vegetables were always fresh like they were just hand-picked from the garden and cooked as if they were made to order. Finally, the desserts were freshly baked and always moist. The state took care of its students.

As the years passed, Marriott came along. Now some of you may think, “Well, this is the Marriott where everything is done impeccably.” As long as that is a thought you are ok. Marriott is not what you think. The food, while staying basically the same began to deteriorate. This company was cutting back some of the delicacies that we enjoyed so much. We slumped down to a point where the food we got was not prepared as fresh and hot. We got treats like holiday cookouts and sometimes a bountiful meal. But this company cared about one thing, the profits made from students. We all know that the cost of food is ridiculous. It was when the state fed us. But then we got what we paid for. Fortunately I left when Marriott was getting to its worst. I left to join the Army.

In the Army I was given food that I often wondered how the government got away with serving. How I lived for three years on government issue food is beyond me. But even then, I realize that I was eating better than I am now.

The company that now provides the food for the students is Aramark. I am surprised that I have not lost more weight than I did when I was in Basic Training. The food now is nauseating as well as revolting and offensive. I am amazed at how this company can serve this rubbish to the Chancellor of this college, who I admire so well. He, of all people should be provided better food than what we have.

But let’s step back and look at the wide array of food that is given here. Whereas Brown cafeteria does not have all the extra types of services, Dodson has the following different styles: The Catamount Grill, The Market Deli, Cafe Features, Pan Geos, Little Caesar, The Wokery, Cranberry Farms, Tortillas, and the Cyber Cafe. While this is a good thing, the food quality is quite poor. Do you ever wonder why people flock to the food court (Chic-Fil-A, DC Subs, and Calazone)? It’s because at least there they can get their food hot and fresh. The food served in Dodson, most of the time, is cold, hard and very tasteless. Tasteless meaning lack of taste, unsavory, and unappetizing rather than lack of style. Which is true also.

Aramark provides merely the appearance of quality and the appearance of quantity, while neither are worth looking at. It churns my stomach to even set eyes on the food here. Cranberry Farms and Little Caesar are the only appetizing places worth eating. Even then, it gets old day after day. Have I lost weight because of eating chicken everyday at Chic-Fil-A? Have I lost weight because I just have not eaten? I think it may be because I can not fathom eating this garbage.

During my tenor at this school, I have seen three different companies come through the food services. If it has gotten this bad within the past seven years, then I ponder the future. I look ahead and see the lack of food services because there has not been any income to the food services. The only income towards the food services is the required meal plan for those living on campus which might I add has only increased since I first started attending this college.

Directed to all those faculty, staff end students (other than Criminal Justice Majors), is this one question. What is the number one reason that prison riots start within the prisons of America? Have you not figured it out yet? That’s right! Food service is the number one reason why prisoners riot. They lack of taste, lack of quality, and lack of quantity is why we spend so much money to stop a riot and so many correctional officers are injured or killed.

I ask this University to please look into the problem that is only getting worse. If a man in the H.F. Robinson Administration Building has the almighty power to turn a Monday into a Tuesday, then let’s see what he or she can do for the food around here. Western Carolina University has spent and is spending so much money to improve this campus to make it more “campus-like” and more aesthetically pleasing. Why not direct that money towards a company that can provide healthy food for its students? After all, I came to this campus not for its looks but moreover for its professional and academic standing within the state.

And that’s all I have to say about that. But am I finished? Of course not. I have one more gripe that is easily corrected. All it takes is the effort and the will to achieve a goal. As I write this article, I wonder how much thought went into putting it in the Western Carolinian.

As I have mentioned numerous times, I am somewhat a veteran of this school. I have seen the Western Carolinian in it’s prime. What you are reading out of now is just the opposite. I have been the editor of a paper before. I know what it is like to find a story. Let’s face it, a campus paper takes more effort for stories than the Asheville Citizen. It is a student paper. It should be directed towards the students and for the students.

Looking back on a Western Carolinian dated February 15, 1996, I compared it to the ones we read today. The paper we read today has six, count them, six pages directed towards sports. Is this really necessary? Is there not any news out there anywhere to take up this space? Also, with this space, six pages of blah, blah, blah is not something that we are all interested in.

The other items in our paper today is the Get A Life section. Hey there’s an idea, get a life! The Western Carolinian advertises the everyday items of entertainment on television. If you can not hear it on television then we all can here it in the classrooms. Let’s look at this closer. There are articles about Video Review, Book Review, Music Review, and Movie Review. Is this really necessary? We all know what movies are playing, good and bad. We all know that Metallica’s bass player quit, and that’s a tragedy. We all know that the Internet has this thing called Amazon.com. If we want a book, go to that site or better yet, go to that big building with books. I think it’s called a library. And I haven’t yet figured out the difference between movie review and video review, but it’s just as pointless.

Although I am not a human resource kind of guy, I ask the Western Carolinian, where is that section that was so popular back in the day? Human resources always had something about the area. This is a rich area. A rich area of soil and water, hiking trails, rock climbing, and scenery. So much was said within four articles than is being said now. What has happened?

In today’s paper, the only thing worth reading is the Public Safety Highlights and I am a Criminal Justice major and that does not appeal to me that much.

A look back to the good old days. February 15, 1996 shows in the news section the following articles: “SGA Update,” “Academic Affairs Search,” ‘Interfraternity Council,” “WCU Writing Center,” “WCU Loses Round in Court.” Those are all about Western Carolina University, not about the editor of the Western Carolinian getting married. I think almost everyone at this campus could care less that you got married, but congratulations anyway.

The Features section of the old Western Carolinian were interesting and kept minds focused on the articles. It focused on the problems or good things about this campus. How the campus survives by whatever means or reflecting on forums brought to the front is what we used to read about.

We used to enjoy getting the weekly paper to do crosswords and reading the comics. It gave some light to the paper. If you got tired of studying, break out a crossword or read the comics to break the tension.

One page for editorials. Is that all? Editorials are a good thing. They focus a lot of anger and frustration, joy and celebration, and information to the students that lack that knowledge or information. I write this article to inform the students, the faculty, and the staff on what is wrong with this campus. Will this be printed? Will this entire article be printed? We’ll see soon I hope.

To the editor, Dawn Pasley, I charge this to you. While you have done a decent job at this paper, The Western Carolinian, I ask that you stretch out your journalistic talents and look at the old papers. The papers of the past were so much better. Like the food here, this paper is gradually going down hill. I have seen papers grow to be the best in the state. I am not sure if you know this, but this paper goes to others around the state. I know people that send it out to their colleges and alumni. I, for one, am one of those. But this paper will come to a stop if you do not face its problems now. Do not wait until tomorrow but rather look at what is in front of you and make it better. Every day I go through life wanting to better myself in some way. While being editor looks good on a resume, it will not look good if you get a job as a journalist and do this poorly. I apologize for any feelings that are being hurt but I always let my feelings flow naturally. And that is not a bad thing to say what is on ones mind. Please help us out. Let us be able to pick up The Western Carolinian and enjoy reading what is in it instead of looking at the headlines and pictures. Just a final note, back in the day, it took approximately 15 – 30 minutes to read this paper. Now, it takes about 3 minutes for me to scan it and be totally uninterested. Please do better.