Dear Trillium Salad Station,
I need to express my disappointment with you thus far in this academic year. During my tenure at Cornell, I’ve come to rely on you almost every day. You’ve provided me with energy, a filling lunch, and a place I could feel comfortable eating despite my numerous dietary restrictions. Yes, Terrace salads are a bit cheaper and have a quinoa option, but your convenient location in Kennedy Hall—a great meeting spot and in close proximity to all of my classes—earned you a place in my daily routine. Not to mention, you’re also pretty delicious.
So you can imagine my chagrin when I turned up on the first day of classes to find that your salad system—and my world—had been turned upside down. Not only would I have to make my own salad and mix my own dressing, but I also would be discouraged from adding unlimited different ingredients and charged by weight.
Needless to say, the change has caused quite an uproar amongst the Cornell community, for both economical and practical reasons. One of the best parts about visiting you was knowing I could have as many toppings as my heart desired–and in effect, a nutritious and filling meal–for only $9.71 worth of BRBs. Especially as someone who includes plenty of vegetables and fruits in her salad, this was fantastic news. I usually took almost every vegetable on display, and perhaps some tofu or parmesan cheese. Oh, and the banana chips? They make the whole salad. Never did I have to think twice about how much the salad weighed…until the new system was installed. Now a salad with the same amount of add-ins could potentially cost several dollars more–an increase that inevitably adds up when you have a habit for fresh veggies and a student-minded budget.
What’s more is that this change in pricing seemingly occurred without any warning. Apparently, you have shocked some students at the register, who didn’t realize that we would now be paying by weight. My friend unknowingly filled her container to the brim her first time and was informed that she owed $33 in BRBs. No matter what was in her salad, this is absolutely insane. No salad should be able to cost that much, especially on a college campus, where access to affordable food is paramount.
Another essential component of your updated self is the fact that you are self-serve. Sure, this makes the line move a bit faster after everyone finishing their 12:55 class rushes to Trill at the same time, but the wait was more than worth it. Now instead of being served by lovely people wearing gloves behind the counter, it’s a free-for-all. And considering the thousands of students who make their way through Trillium each day, many inevitably coughing and sneezing themselves to oblivion, this creates an excellent way to pick up germs from touching the same serving utensils–or worse, from the germs getting on the food itself.
More than a hygiene issue, the new self-serve station also provides a perfect opportunity for cross-contamination–an occurrence which could be a serious safety issue for students with allergies and medical conditions like Celiac Disease. Although the ingredients are strategically laid out to accommodate people with dietary restrictions and allergies, such as the croutons being nowhere near the basic salad ingredients and the seeds contained in a separate container, there is a whole lot more wiggle room for something to accidentally go wrong. Students in a hurry to get to their next classes are likely not as careful as trained employees who will gladly change their gloves in between touching students’ salads upon request.
Perhaps the only good element of your updated style are your easy-to-open, environmentally-friendly cardboard boxes. No longer do Cornellians have to suffer while trying to no avail to open their plastic salad containers. But I’m sure I speak for many when I say I’d take the old salad station back–pesky plastic containers and all–in a heartbeat.
The bottom line? We appreciate the effort Cornell takes to revamp its amenities to the community, but this is a change that crosses the line. We hope you will consider our arguments and one day allow us to giddily approach you again, patiently wait in line to be served, pick a wide range of add-ins, and know we can afford to return the next day.
You Were Beautiful Just the Way You Were