Somerset doesn’t suit students’ needs


Craig Martin/Journal Staff

The eagerly awaited 20 Somerset building was promised to include a full cafeteria equipped to better meet the dining needs of students. However, it failed. Where the cafe succeeds in variety, it lacks in coordination and convenience, two features that are vital to a bustling university.

20 Somerset had students with high hopes and few worries about losing the Donahue cafeteria. With the Donahue café out of service- its doors closed at the busiest time of the day and now only used for organization events- students default to 20 Somerset. However, this café doesn’t to replace Donahue’s more appropriate dining set-up.

The cafeteria in Donahue offered food choices much better suited to the between class rush that students experience. The activity in Somerset is no different, but instead of maintaining consistency, this café veers from the same accessibility that Donahue provided.

In Donahue, students’ choices included a salad bar, plenty of ready-made sushi, and grab-and-go selections like their rice bowls and chicken tenders, options that suited busy students during their 10-minute breaks between classes, club meetings, or work.

Somerset’s quick picks like pasta, breadsticks, and pizza, on the other hand, are much less appealing. The real breadwinners of this café are the Asian-style and sandwich stations. But the lines for these choices routinely snake through the length of the room. This is in no way ideal for students looking to get in and out in a timely fashion before running to the seventh floor for their  class.

Additionally, the salad bar option seems to be lost along with Donahue. Vegetarian and gluten-free options run ridiculously slim, a fact nearly devastating on a college campus. Are students expected to journey down to 73 Tremont’s cafeteria and wait in the long lines for a salad? The absence of something as basic as a salad bar is evidence of a poorly thought-out dining hall.

Another example of sub par planning is the layout of the cafeteria itself. Cashiers are located on the far end of the room, hidden in a corner. For a building swarming with students trying to move quickly, is this the best place to put the checkout area?

As someone who inadvertently left the café in a hurry without paying for her sandwich, I’d say no.

The space itself seems unnecessarily large; where open space dominates the cafeteria side of the ground floor, I’d rather see more seating on the other.

The best thing I can say about the 20 Somerset café is the food they are putting out is at a higher standard than Donahue’s was; the options are overall more glamorous. I am, after all, a big fan of Somerset’s smoothie bar. But for the lack of convenience surrounding the dining hall, I can’t say that glamour is worth it.

Though seemingly petty issues, these concerns add up to an overall unnatural and inconvenient replacement for the much-loved Donahue café. Somerset’s dining hall lies somewhere between an awkward residence hall cafeteria and convenient pit stop for busy students.