8 Dining Hall Life Hacks Every Student Can Use

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By: Malcolm Kelner & Jeremy Vandroff

Most Emerson students consider the dining hall merely a means to an end— a place that provides sustenance and calories to get them through the day alive. But these DH life hacks will make your meals truly special.

1) “Meatless Monday,” More Like “Meat Monday”: How annoying is it when you wait in a long line at the first station only to remember the world is being saved through Emerson’s “Meatless Monday” initiative, and the rice, pasta, or whatever else is being served doesn’t have a single gram of protein or taste? Don’t panic. Get a plate of it, then walk directly over to the sandwich station and just have the guy throw a big handful of grilled chicken right on top. Chicken fried rice now. Take that, liberals!

2) Get A Bigger Portion: In the home cooking line and want more than a tiny portion of the main course without having to go back in line later? Say, “Could I have some more, please?” 9 times out of 10, you will get more; the only trick is being able to absorb the guilt trip placed on you by the server, who will tell you he or she has been instructed by a manager not to do this.

3) Pop Bottles!: Celebrating a special occasion and on a college budget? How does free champagne sound, totally included in your meal plan? Little did you know that the seldomly-used tap for Schweppes Ginger Ale on the soda machine actually dispenses Dom Perignon champagne! Pleasant surprises… now that’s something anyone can make a toast to!

4) Secret Menu Items: The grill menu may list your typical, expected foods: hamburger, hot dog, grilled cheese, etc., but did you know there are secret, unlisted items, akin to In-N-Out Burger and Chipotle? Next time you walk up to the grill, yell out, “Kobe!” while making a basketball shooting motion. The cook will wink at you and throw a 12-oz. Wagyu Kobe steak on the grill. Don’t get too excited though, meatheads… only one steak allowed per person.

5) Chipotle: Speaking of Chipotle, there’s good news for fans of the popular burrito joint. Every week on “Taco Tuesday,” don’t think you have to settle for the standard tacos served in line. When it’s your turn, lean in toward the server and say, “I’ll get the works… with extra chipotle sauce.” She’ll know what you mean, and will grab a freshly prepared Chipotle burrito from the back.

6) Tell Them Your Parents Are Coming: If you inform any DH employee that your parents will be dining on campus, they are obligated to inform the manager to break out the “Good Stuff.” Prepare to enjoy feta melon crostini and pan seared sole. (“Parents Coming” excuse good once per semester.)

7) Make It Yourself: Tired of waiting in line? Well, another little known trick is that you are allowed to hop behind the counter and whip up your own meals, using the vast resources of the Sodexo kitchen. So, next time you’re waiting behind the entire damn men’s lacrosse team as they get their sandwiches prepared, just jump back there and throw a few chicken patties on for yourself.

8) Picnic On The Common: Tired of sitting at the same table or booth? Tired of the same six sports bros commandeering the TV? As soon as the weather warms up, break outside and enjoy a charming picnic on the Common, courtesy of Sodexo. Just download the “DH” app and select the “dine out” option. A Sodexo employee of your choosing will meet you in the lobby and give you a piggy back ride across the street into Boston Common, where a second Sodexo employee will have pasta and lactose free ice cream laid out on a checkered blanket for your enjoyment. Beverages not included.

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