Article by Paige Smith
Remember walking to Van Meter excited for your beloved croissants and coffee in the morning? Remember being in class and needing a pick me up after catching yourself falling asleep in Zurawik’s 8 am? Remember walking into Van Meter yelling, “Good morning Ms. Tina!”? Well, say goodbye to that come Fall 2018. After the addition of the new dining hall, Goucher will be shutting down the Van. “After being here for three years, I feel like the Van has become part of our academic experience at Goucher. For Goucher to take away this crucial part of our dining experience, they risk students being late to class in the mornings and also taking long breaks in order to grab a quick snack,” says rising senior, History major, Beteley Mulatu.
When asked about why The Van will be closing, Norman Zwagil, Resident District Manager of Bon Appetit, says “My understanding is that, as Stimson and Heubeck close and we become more of a central dining facility, you know smack dab right in the middle of campus, that the van is unnecessary.” He also adds that, “Frankly, The Van basically just does coffee and grab and go, so I don’t think it’s really hard to replace that and still accomplish the same thing.”
Rising junior, Sociology major with a concentration in Social Justice, Mikaela Brigman says “I think the van closing is inconvenient for students. Especially because some students take classes back to back and do not have time in the 10 minute time slot to walk down Van Meter for food.”
Especially with the new curriculum, Goucher has organized the course schedule so that students begin class at the same time and get out at the same time. With only one dining location, this increases the risk of breakfast and lunch rush hours being extended due to the fact that everyone may have to eat at peak times and wait in longer lines. ”The mobile app is intended to mitigate some of that,” says Norman Zwagil, “We’re instituting mobile ordering. So the mobile ordering app, which you can download to your cell phone, can allow you to process the payment on your cell phone, you know use your meal plan. It’ll allow you to order ahead and then we’ll have your order waiting for you.” He also adds that there is over 400 seats in the new dining hall, contrasting Stimson’s current 200. The new dining hall will also have a new personal pizza program, among other new additions, according to Zwagil.
“As prospective students are brought by The Van daily, and told of its popularity, it is unfortunate to hear that The Van will be permanently next year. If The Van were to close, it would be wonderful to see students be able to use the space as a student run co-op business,” says Associate Provost of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. La Jerne Cornish. If any students are interested in this idea, they would have to talk to Brian Coker. Norman Zwagil says “If conditions were right, it could stay where it is, but operated by students.”