posted 2011-09-07 14:00:23

Cafeteria Renovations Bring New Look to Cafeteria

Students get food at the newly renovated cafeteria / Jashim Jalal
Students get food at the newly renovated cafeteria / Jashim Jalal
Jaime Perry

Contributing Writer

Additional reporting by

John Bolger

News and Features Editor

Renovations to third floor cafeteria began over the summer with the bulk of the work completed in time for the fall semester. A new entrance to the cafeteria was built along the west end of the third floor, complete with new turnstiles and modern-looking glass walls – and chrome.  The cafeteria was also outfitted with two new service stations as well as new equipment.

According to Giancarlo Bonagura, Assistant Vice President for the Finance and Business Services at Hunter, the goal of the cafeteria project was to improve the student dining experience by offering a better space to eat in as well as to provide more diverse and healthy food options.  While much of the new cafeteria has already been unveiled, Bonagura said that renovation was still in progress on the north cafeteria, which will open to students later in the Fall semester.  The north cafeteria will be accessible from the main food service area opposite the currently open cafeteria.

“We are very proud of this project,” Bonagura said in an email.  “The college community will be very pleased when it will open.”

Students interviewed for this report said that they thought the renovations made the cafeteria look nicer, but most said that they did not notice significant changes to the menu – and that the prices remained too high.

Joe Cammarata, 21, a biology major, was eating his home-packed lunch in the cafeteria when he said he thought the new cafeteria looked nice and “fireproof” – referring to last semester’s blaze which shut down the facility for a week – but that the food selection did not appeal to him.  “I would rather get food from somewhere else where you can choose from 20 sandwiches and get whatever you want on it, for the same price,” he said.  Cammarata added that the only time he buys food at Hunter is when he is in a rush to get to class on time.

“When I have no time, I get pizza,” Cammarata said, “because the other pizza is two blocks away.”

“I think it's nice,” said Jessica Lacorte, 22.  “The other one looked dingy, it made me not want to eat because it looked gross.”  The fine arts major said that she regularly bought food at the cafeteria, but that she wished it had more options, like “a salad bar, or some sort of make your own sandwich thing.”

Sabrina Cepeda, 21, studying Sociology and History, said that she liked the way the cafeteria looked but that “at the end of the day what really matters is the price. You could have a really fancy place, but if I can't afford to eat, then what does it matter.”  Cepeda said that the City College cafeteria was more in line with what she wanted as a student.  Cepeda, who used to attend City College, said that their cafeteria had more options and more reasonable prices.

Another common complaint of the dining room renovations was the reduction in walking space it created along the third floor bridge between the west and north buildings.  Space from the hallway was used to expand the north dining room, reducing the available walking area by roughly half.

Mindy Vashenko, 20, a freshman majoring in English said she and her friends felt crowded and uncomfortable hanging out in the affected area of the bridge.  She recalled having been pushed as she was walking to one of her classes.  “It is a big disadvantage for Hunter College students,” she said.

Other students, such as Natalie Ruzzo, 26, said they did not mind the reduction in space, because they thought it was a necessary improvement to the Hunter campus.  The English major said that she will adjust to the limited space without complaint.

Mohammed Khan, 21, studying economics and statistics, said “it's not good for us right now, people are walking slower, they're getting to class late.”  Despite his feelings that the walkway was congested, he did say that he thought the construction would be worth the trouble if the north dining room was properly outfitted with better seating and wireless internet service.

While many students have expressed concerns regarding the new cafeteria, it remains to be seen how opinions will change upon the completion of the north dining room.