Students Adjust to Campus Dining, Amidst Restrictions


Many students are eating meals outside this semester, amidst restrictions to indoor dining. (Mackenzie Cranna/The Fordham Ram)

“Everything just gets combined and mashed together,” said Joe Nussbaum, FCRH ’23, about dumping the contents of his plate into his to-go box. This habit is the new normal at Fordham dining. 

With the reopening of the Fordham campus to students and faculty, on-campus dining has changed in order to better adapt to the dangers of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  

Deming Yaun, the dining services contract liaison, said that on-campus dining facilities have been following every guideline put in place from every agency — national, state, regional and citywide — that have applied to dining and restaurant services. 

The New York City guidelines outline that people should avoid indoor dining and wear personal protective equipment unless eating. Yaun said these guidelines also include administering and enforcing staff training, social distancing and protective barriers. 

In each on-campus eatery, social distancing stickers and barriers in between students and faculty have been set up in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Specific entry and exit paths have also been established in each on-campus dining facility to minimize contact.  

In the cafeteria, anyone entering is asked to stand six feet apart and, upon entry, are immediately asked to sanitize their hands before taking a to-go box. Students are required to stand six feet apart upon entry and once they are in the cafeteria as well. Students are not allowed to eat inside. The seating area in Dagger John’s is currently blocked off.

Urban Kitchen limits the amount of people in the facility if it gets too crowded, making students wait outside until they are allowed to enter. 

Thomas Aiello, FCRH ’23, said the cafeteria being closed allows more time to sit outside. 

“Last year I could count on one hand the amount of times I brought my food to Eddie’s,” he said 

According to Maya Bentovim, FCRH ’23, chair of the United Student Government dining committee, Urban has added much more outdoor seating, including a tent over some of the tables, and more toppings for the frozen yogurt station as well. 

One of the USG dining committee’s main goals this semester will be adding vegan and vegetarian options alongside improving sustainability. This includes bringing the customizable salad bar back and urging students to bring their own reusable utensils, according to Bentovim. 

Indoor dining is on track to begin on Sept. 30, Yaun said. When it does, students can expect early guidance such as a maximum of 25% capacity, temperature checks at every entrance, increased spacing between tables, collection of test and trace data from one person per table and personal protective equipment to employees, according to the New York City government.  

“Every guideline from every agency national, state, regional, and NYC that related to dining services and restaurants including staff training,” said Yaun. “PPE, social distancing and protective barriers were followed and put in place.  The same will be for indoor dining starting on Sept. 30.”

Bentovim said the dining committee worked with Aramark to open up the Marketplace for commuter dining, and they are on track to do so with the reopening of indoor dining.  

According to Yaun, no changes were made to the prices of student meal plans or to the contract between Fordham and Aramark. 

“The ’20-’21 meal plan prices did not change from what they were posted as prior to COVID-19,” he said. “Regarding the agreement between the University and Aramark, that has not changed either.  Changes to the Dining program are mutually agreed to between Fordham and Aramark as COVID-19 presents different campus scenarios to work with.”