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Gift bag meals met with mixed opinions

Martha Muswema receives her gift bag meal from Wartburg student and dining employee Monica Sieg. The bag contained food that was prepackaged and microwavable. — Allix Williamson/TRUMPET
Martha Muswema receives her gift bag meal from Wartburg student and dining employee Monica Sieg. The bag contained food that was prepackaged and microwavable. — Allix Williamson/TRUMPET

Homecoming meals were not the traditional Mensa meal this year, as students were given the option of a “gift bag” style meal for last week’s Friday dinner and Saturday lunch.

The meals contained soup, entreé options for both days, as well as water and a variety of snacks, Margaret Empie, assistant vice president for Dining and Retail Services, said.

Students received food that was able to be microwaved or was prepackaged.

“We thought through all of the different kinds of things people eat and we tried to accommodate that,” Empie said.

Many students were unaware of the gift bag meals, Katie Hogle, a student said.

Students who were aware of the change in dining had mixed opinions about the gift bag meal option.

“A lot of the things that they gave out you already have in your room. I have a ton of mac n’ cheese cups,” Mikenna Rodriguez, a student, said, “Why do I need more?”

Calyn Thompson was excited about the gift bags.

“It’s a lot of food, but it’s awesome. It’s like going grocery shopping in the Mensa,” Thompson said.

Dinner in the Mensa was cancelled Friday due to a kick-off gala for the Transforming Tomorrow campaign. The event utilized all of the available space in the Mensa as well as the three ballrooms.

Student meals on Saturday were changed during the day because of Homecoming activities.

By having the gift bag meals, students had the freedom to eat when they wanted to, allowing them to participate in the Renaissance Fair and other Homecoming activities, Empie said.

Students were allowed to select what they wanted to put in their gift bags, taking one from a variety of options such as soup, chips and trail mix.

If students had special dietary restrictions, Dining Services coordinated with them to ensure that all students were satisfied, Empie said.

Students were able to pick up their meals on Wednesday during dinner and Thursday during lunch and dinner.
A second check-in station was provided to allow an easier flow of traffic, keeping one line of students entering the Mensa for regular dining and another selecting their gift bag meals.

Empie said over 700 gift bag meals were taken, which is more than the number of students that take advantage of the traditional alternate meal.

Past alternate meals have been held in other locations, such as the Den and Cardinal Commons, Empie said.

The Saturday evening meal was the traditional Oktoberfest, put on by the alumni department, Empie said.

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