Virginia Tech Dining Halls

The interior of D2 on Virginia Tech campus, Sept. 20, 2016.

Recently, D2 Dining Hall featured a “Nachos Night,” serving up several different kinds of nacho-based dishes, such as dessert nachos and nachos with fried oysters on top. This night seemed to lead many more students than normal to Virginia Tech’s all-you-care-to-eat dining hall, causing lines to become much longer than normal for a Tuesday evening. Special dining events such as this one should occur more often, as they create more of an initiative for students to eat on campus and allow Dining Services to test the waters for novel foods.

Each Tuesday, many students from my residence hall eat dinner at D2 together. It’s a tradition we look forward to, but more for the company and community than the food — that’s the only time we go to D2 each week aside from Sunday brunch. And most Tuesdays, the dining hall is far from crowded. Sure, there is normally a fair number of students, but not to the point that it’s hard to find a table or that long lines develop.

This past Tuesday, though, was different. We looked forward to the special offerings and were eager to make the quick walk along Dietrick Lawn right after D2 opened. Joined by many others, we enjoyed not only D2’s regular dinner options, but also a variety of nachos that are not normally served.

Special food events also allow Dining Services to produce new foods without committing these foods to permanent menus. If they are especially challenging to make or students are unreceptive to them, those dishes do not need to be available ever again. However, considering that — at least, this past Tuesday — students were receptive to the new options, this is probably not too much of an issue.

Along with that, better quality food makes Hokies more proud to attend school here and helps us appreciate the services available here. Sometimes, even if it’s good, the dining hall can become monotonous and boring. D2 especially can be boring, as some of the food lacks flavor. Events like Nachos Night allow students to try new things they otherwise wouldn’t have access to while being able to conveniently remain on campus and pay with their dining dollars. Having access to interesting and unique food while being able to remain on campus makes the quality of dining significantly higher and connects Hokies to their community.

Other dining halls should follow the pattern set by D2 of hosting these special events. Owens, for example, did an event closer to the beginning of the semester at which students could walk around and share their opinions on potential new additions to dining menus. This event, which was well attended, should be mimicked by other dining halls like West End to get Hokies more engaged with dining services and the products they offer.