Bostwick closing during Fall Fest causes confusion

Caroline Fassett, Investigative News Editor

Hundreds of students made their way to the University’s football practice field on Sept. 17 to hop on carnival rides, hear the harmonies of various a cappella groups, and be serenaded by musical artist and Fall Fest headliner Jesse McCartney. Though many students were impressed by the efforts of the Fall Fest Committee, others expressed discontent and confusion that Bostwick Marketplace closed at 2 p.m., requiring those on campus to swipe their University IDs at the event in order to consume the comparatively limited meals provided by Dining Services.

“I really wanted to go to the cafeteria, but it was closed. So I ate at Fall Fest. And I would like $13.20 [the cost of eating a meal at the event] deducted from my tuition, please and thank you,” Erin Lehr ’18 said.

Director of Campus Activities and Student Organizations Mike Duignan explained that the meal portion of Fall Fest–which this year included pulled pork, pasta salad, and macaroni & cheese options–has never been designed to offer free meals to students. Instead, it is implemented to support those on the Anytime Access or Combo Meal Plans, allowing them to obtain meals without leaving the event. He stated that he personally interpreted the swiping option at Fall Fest “as an opportunity to make sure students [on these meal plans] receive their Saturday meal.”

“When Fall Fest started, Dining [Services] did not have the swiping technology. Now that Dining has the ability of remote swipe technology, it just made sense. [T]he ability to swipe … provides historical data to limit food waste and tracking for both Dining and Fall Fest,” Duignan said.

Acknowledging that the meals offered at Fall Fest presented less options than Bostwick Marketplace, Duignan stated that Fall Fest “has been a staple event for a number of years.” Part of the purpose in closing the cafeteria was to unite students with the Lewisburg community.

“Because of the size of the event, we try to find multiple ways to gather the [University] community to the space. One way has been to incorporate the meal as part of the event. Talking with Dining, the meal was designed to fulfill the basic needs of community, including allergen restrictions,” Duignan said.

Many students arrived at Fall Fest around 4:30 p.m. to see McCartney perform and were perplexed to find no food choices available that didn’t require payment.

“When I got to Fall Fest, there was no free food available. It was confusing and frustrating,” said Melinda Garcia ‘18.

Duignan said that Fall Fest did offer multiple free options to the campus, yet these snacks were provided at an earlier time than usual.

“…[W]e reversed the snacks and the meal this year. [Free] food included nacho tots, loaded fries, turkey legs, fried oreos, fried pickles, ice cream, cotton candy, fried mac & cheese, fruit, cookies, the beer garden, and water/lemonade/iced tea … a variety of new foods [were provided] every hour,” Duignan said.

Fall Fest Committee member Julia Gee ’19 called these snacks “amazing,” but expressed her reluctance to pay for a meal at the event.

“Unfortunately I didn’t stay late enough for the dinner, but then again, I also would not pay for a swipe when I could easily get something from the Bison [Café] for half the price. The people I talked to, non-first-year students, agreed that they would rather just go to the Bison than pay for a caf swipe,” Gee said.

Though Duignan said that he has not received substantial student feedback about the executed changes, he has spoken with students who “seemed very pleased” with Fall Fest’s food options. Yet, he said that he recognizes that there was confusion regarding the charging of meals at the event as a replacement for the assortment of food provided by Bostwick Marketplace.

“The students that I did receive feedback [from] mentioned [that] they like the fact that we provided a lot of snacks early, and provided direct messaging to cut down on any confusion with the change in swiping this year,” Duignan said.

“[Fall Fest] was so well attended and I spoke with tons of students I knew at the event that really had a good time,” General Manager of Resident Dining John Cummins said.

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