Do you want to know what really swayed my college decision?
Granted, I cared about the professors and financial aid and the dorms, but when it came down to it, eating in the Commons on my visit day sealed my decision. Now that I’ve been at Dordt for a couple of years, I’ve picked up a few tricks for navigating dining at Dordt—so hopefully they’ll help you out too!
BE PREPARED. As a freshman living on campus, I made sure to know when the Commons, our dining hall, and the Grille were open. If I knew I couldn’t make it to lunch at the Commons, I’d run to the Grille at 11 and pick up a Grab ‘n Go meal to eat instead. Now, as a commuter with plenty of classes around the noon hour, I make sure to pack a sack lunch each morning.
EAT BREAKFAST. Whether that’s poptarts on the way to class or sitting down for an omelet at the Commons, breakfast is important. I’m usually more awake (and less crabby) when I’ve got some food in my stomach during an 8 am class.
PAY ATTENTION TO SPECIAL MEALS. The Commons put on several special meals each semester—like Canadian & American Thanksgiving meals, carnival food at Hoops Happening, and sometimes they even do a Star-Wars themed meal in May. Pay attention to announcements via posters and email to find out when special meals are—they’re often the most highly-attended, so get there early!
WATCH THE SIGNS. If you have a food allergy or intolerance, I highly recommend talking to our Dordt Dining staff—they’re great about preparing gluten-free food separately and being considerate of your eating needs. Plus, they put up signs with icons that tell you if a dish has dairy, wheat, seafood, etc—as a lactose-intolerant person, it’s been super helpful to know which dishes I should avoid.
LEARN THE STATION ROTATION. Wing Wednesday, Mac ‘n Cheese Monday, Phillie Friday—these are just a few of the reoccurring stations that the Commons will have every week. Sick of eating pasta and burgers? Try out the food station and you might be surprised by a chili bar, hot wings, or burritos.
MAKE MEALS WITH FRIENDS. Even though underclassmen don’t live in the apartments, there are kitchens you can access in each of the residence halls. Walking through West, I’ve been invited to a Saturday-morning pancake bash, seen students making dumplings, and used the microwaves to heat up leftovers, all in the building’s second-floor kitchen. So if you’re in the mood for some homemade food just grab some friends, fire up the stove, and get cooking.
Otherwise, enjoy yourself! There’s tons of healthy food options—some of my favorites are the Common’s rice blends and salad bar—and not-so-healthy options too, like pizza and cheese curds at the Grille. One of the best things about the Commons is that they always have something new or different to try alongside student classics.
And honestly, the best tip I can give is to just plan ahead. Be aware of when you can get hot sandwiches from the Grille on meal exchange (the Defender is my personal recommendation), learn where the microwaves are, and don’t skip out on Wing Wednesday. Seriously. Those wings are the highlight of my week.