Why We Should Stop Knocking Peirce

Peirce: the dining hall we all love to hate. Isn’t it a collegiate right of passage to complain about our dining hall? You never hear college kids talk about how much they loved the cafeteria food they ate at school for four years. But here at Kenyon, I would argue that we really don’t have much to complain about. Compared to many other college cafeterias, Peirce is pretty great. It may be trendy to knock Peirce, but there are also many reasons why it is wrong to do so.

I wrote an article a few weeks ago about my struggles adjusting to Kenyon my freshman year, and in that article I mentioned that I had been excited for dining hall food in college. When I was talking about this with one of my friends, they seemed surprised that I would be excited to eat dining hall food. Who would be excited to replace home-cooked meals with cafeteria food? But I loved the idea of having so many options each day. A permanent salad bar means I can make sure I get veggies with every meal. And Peirce has so many stations that I can be pretty sure there’ll always be something for dinner that I will like. Honestly, I also think that the meals in Peirce are a pretty good quality. Maybe not fancy restaurant quality, but it wasn’t like I was eating at many fancy restaurants when I was home anyway.

Growing up, most of my meals were rushed affairs—usually something quick and easy that my mom could prepare after getting home late from working all day, at which time my brother and I were both hungry. It wasn’t that my mom couldn’t cook, but she was a single parent who worked all day teaching and running after-school activities. By the time she made it home, she was far too exhausted to prepare something elaborate, and my brother and I were far too hungry to have the patience for her to cook something fancy. So quick meals it was.

Likewise, I can’t imagine coming back to my dorm after a long day of classes and studying and working and still having to cook dinner for myself. Not to mention having to buy groceries every week. As much as I might romanticize the idea of cooking for myself, I feel really lucky that Peirce is always available for a quick, good, and healthy meal.      

It’s easy to forget, being here, how privileged we all really are. We go to a great school and are provided 3 (or more!) hot meals a day. Peirce always has some form of fruits, veggies, and protein (including vegetarian options), and even gets a lot of its food locally, which makes it better than most school dining halls. We’re allowed to walk in whenever Peirce is open without having to worry about swipes or points or anything most campuses have to limit your dining hall consumption.

And Peirce shows us time and again how much it cares about our opinions! There are comment cards in the dining hall, or you can post on Peirce’s Facebook page or Twitter with suggestions or comments, and Peirce will almost always answer. We frequently have students’ choice dinners where we can suggest basically whatever we want, and even if Peirce isn’t making your favorite food one night, they always post the menu to Twitter and Facebook so you know what will be served that night.


When you put all of that together, I really don’t see Peirce as something to complain about. It may not be perfect, but it’s doing a pretty damn good job feeding us.


Image Credit: Kenyon.edu, Peirce Twitter