Campus has a lot of places to eat or just grab a bite. While most would think that the K-State Student Union is the place to go, it depends on when you get there. Around lunch, everyone goes there, so you would be hard-pressed to find a seat. If you want one, you would probably have to stake one out before the lunch rush comes. Who has time for that?
For those new to college life or for those who may never have realized, your eating habits change when you get here. This change usually results in what many call the “freshman 15,” and that can happen for a number of reasons. One is that incoming students might not know any nutritional guidelines. An advantage to eating in the dining halls is that nutritional info is posted all over the walls and on their website. You may think that the Union has all your favorites but so do the dining halls. The added bonuses are you get a place to sit and read up on ways to eat right.
K-State has three distinct dining halls on campus. The first distinction is made by their locations on opposite sides of campus. From eating there, it appears that not only do they get students from the adjacent dorms, but also from the nearby campus buildings. This has resulted in each cafeteria having their own unique culture of regulars. Another such distinction is how Derby Dining Center is known as “The Derb” by many students. It has been given a catchy nickname, a mark of distinction from its cross-campus counterpart, Kramer Dining Center. However, the nickname is only the beginning of the distinctions between the eateries.
While Kramer appears to be the lesser known of the two, after visiting both, it is the easier to navigate. At Kramer, you have the stairs up to the dining floor, and from there you choose which line you want to go to. If you want to know what is being served that day, you can jump onto their campus website, or find the big screen display in the lobby next to the entrance to the stairs.
Nithin Katireddy, freshman in electrical engineering, said that he eats as many meals in Kramer as his class schedule allows.
“The food is really good,” said Katireddy. “I didn’t eat beef before coming here, and many other normal meal items are different from what I’m used to. However, the food is good and it has helped my transition. Though I do go out for something more like home cooking on the weekends.”
“The Derb” on the other hand, is more akin to the mythical labyrinth. For first timers, this view is strongly reinforced by how the lines operate there. Instead of the wide open layout, Derby has select stairways that lead into the food lines on the upper level. You really have to pay attention to the signs in the entrance level to navigate the place well on your first trip. The initial help you’ll find is the signs posted around each stairway designating what food line it leads to and what is being served.
As for the silver lining of this issue, a number of regulars feel that they are unaware of the difficulty now as compared to then of mastering the angled inclines of final decisions.
Peter Zvolamek, senior in architecture, said that the maze of staircases is easy for him now.
“Sometimes I’m not that sure which line I’m getting into,” Peter said, “However, you come here a few times you’ll know your way around. It’s always easy to find something you want to eat. I’m really fine with the options they have for me to choose from.”
Nate Greer, freshman in athletic training, said that finding his way took less time for him due to the convenience the dining hall offered.
“The thing I like the most is that it is right next to the dorms,” he said. “As for the lines, it took less than a week to get used to how the lines work.”
Others, when asked, presented another difference between the two dining halls.
Xan Perkins, freshman in music education, said that the difference in the menu and the proximity to McCain Auditorium was a real plus.
“I think it’s better than eating out and there’s always people here that you can interact with,” said Perkins. “Here, it’s closer and I like how Willie Wok is open every week day instead of only every Wednesday at Kramer.”
The last dining hall on campus, Van Zile Dining Center, has a quirky setup. It is only open on weekdays and it only serves students that live in the Strong Complex or their guests.
When it comes to the food in each of these dining halls, picture this: You can get a cheeseburger and fries on the classics menu anytime and you won’t need a napkin to clean you fingers afterward. That is how much grease is missing from meals at K-State’s dining centers and it’s the one thing that ties them all to one another – their commitment to providing better meals.