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Monday, Mar 4, 2024
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Opinion: It is time for better food at Mercer

I have had some very bad luck with the food on campus lately. Within the last six months, I have had mixed up orders, extremely long waits, not great tasting and undercooked food and in one case, I found bugs in my food. I understand that Mercer might not want to invest too heavily in food for its students, but something absolutely needs to change.

Let’s start with the University Center. The renovations three years ago were wonderful; Chick-Fil-A is obviously a staple, Panda Express was a welcome change and Subway was not the worst casualty (that title belongs to Burger Studio, baby come back!). Moreover, the Farmer’s Market has been a welcome change to campus food as well.

However, the overall quality of the food and service in the University Center has become worse and worse over time. Chick-Fil-A’s waiting times are getting longer and longer, even when there aren’t a lot of students waiting. The quality of Panda Express’s food has absolutely gone downhill; the food can be cold and undercooked, the options don’t vary and I even found bugs, living bugs in my food one day. The Farmer’s Market is often the best place to eat in the UC, but not everyone has a meal plan.

Then we have the Connell Student Center, and I would argue that it is much better off than the UC, though that is not saying much. The Fresh Food Company (Caf) has been a Mercer staple for years, and while there are many students that do not like it, there are also many that do. The Caf has done a lot of great things lately too, from switching up the menu to trying to accommodate for everyone as often as possible. The only thing I would say that needs to be changed about the caf is the freshness and quality of the food.

Which Wich was a wonderful addition to the CSC, and I think it is a lone bright spot when it comes to “fast food” options on campus. While wait times can certainly be longer than people like, the quality of the food is often very good, and I have never had a major problem there. Mix that with the P.O.D, and the CSC is really the best place to get food on campus.

And of course, we cannot forget about Einstein’s, the wonderful bagel shop in the library. This was also a great addition, but it is not something I would count as a part of a students “meal” plan. While a bagel and a drink is always tasty, it is not a whole meal and is better suited as the snack that it is when studying in the library.

Now I do understand that some people, as well as Mercer administrators, may just see all this as yet another student complaining about food options that they believe are always changing. I would argue that while the food options do try to change, there simply is not enough change to justify the significant drop in the quality of the food. Oh, and we cannot forget the fact that all of the food options on campus, save for the Caf, have terrible weekend hours, forcing students to look elsewhere for food which is often a problem.

I feel that now is the time for another change in the food options at Mercer University. I am not blindly shouting for more fast food or more new options; I want to see the blatant problems that we have be fixed! Cold food, awful hours and horrible wait times are things that can be easily addressed. If that could be done, I am positive that the administration would hear far fewer complaints than they do now. I also do not want to see any more living bugs in my food, please.


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