Support For The New Cafeteria System Divided


Mercy College’s students at the Dobbs Ferry campus are getting adjusted to the way the cafeterias operate, but it has not been an easy adjustment just yet.

The start of the new semester brings in new food vendors, styles of eating, and even a glass wall in the cafes. This is due to the Director of Operations understanding that food service is an important part of the student experience.

“For many years, we were hearing mixed reviews from the community on selections, offerings, and value for cost,” says Orla Fitzsimons, Director of Operations. The contract with Mercy’s previous food service came to an end in June of 2021, so Mercy took the opportunity to gather input from students, faculty, and staff to inform future food service plans.

The Student Government Association feels that students aren’t satisfied with the changes, however, and the SGA president wants to make sure student voices are being heard by Mercy’s administration.

Eniola Ogunlade, recently elected SGA President, has set up a forum for Mercy students to talk to Kevin Joyce, Mercy’s Vice President of Student Affairs, Fitzsimons, and residential directors.

“Before move-in on the Dobb’s Ferry campus, students were not alarmed about the changes to the cafeteria,” the SGA President explained as the reactions of the incoming students felt. There were multiple changes that impact the way commuting students operate while waiting for class periods, ways to manage the $200 dinning dollars, and also the amount of options there are for meal plans, which is now one, that were not brought to students attentions.

Mercy, however, is always aiming to be flexable in their plans to meet the needs of Mercy students and the wider community, and will continue will continue to do so.

They plan on striving to make the dining and grab and go experience as positive as possible for all who utilize dining services.

According to Fitzsimons, people are enjoying the expanded food options and are very happy with the all-you-can-care to eat format.  If one is on the run or do not have time to eat in Hudson View Café, one can get a to-go container and take the meal with them. 

The form of payments remain the same for the most part. With the new buffet style, however, there is a door rate for those paying with cash or credit card. Breakfast costs $6.50, lunch is $8.50, and dinner costing around $11.

“We encourage the community to attend feedback sessions and keep in constant communication with the Mercy operations team so we can continue to pivot if needed.”

Victory Café has lost Einstein Bagels, but they introduced Freshens. Students are now able to order smoothies, as well as panini melts and rice bowls as replacements to two stations that were taken out of the cafeteria in Victory Hall. 

The dining halls received different hours of operation as a part of the changes being made. Hudson View Café is open from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, closing at 6 p.m. Friday to Sunday. Hudson View Express operates the same schedule as Hudson View.  Victory Café closes at 11 p.m., seven days out the week. They open at 11 p.m. on weekdays, but on Saturday and Sunday and it is open until 5 p.m. 

Sophomore Elbita Pacheco shows optimism in the changes like the all-you-can-eat buffet style, but she wishes for more freshness within the grill section in Hudson View Café.

Unable to ask for alterations has turned students away, and so has the inability of some cannot sit with classmates inside the café.

“Now that students who don’t plan on eating can’t spend their downtime in the café, it forces the library to be the chill spot at times,” says junior Samuel Novas who like others has been accustomed to having the cafeteria as a place to socialize. He feels the ineffectiveness it has on students who are in the library to study and socialize.

In previous semesters, the students of Mercy would head to the cafeteria in Main Hall because of the convenience it offered before, between, and after classes. They instead have to look elsewhere.

Mercy has expanded the seating area outside the main dining area and there will be new furniture installed in that area in the coming months to help deal with these issues.

Hudson View Express, right by the Hudson View Café’s registers, feature double barrel roasters that produce freshly brewed coffee and fresh-to-go selections for students on the move.

Joyce is happy that students are able to come to feedback sessions to address any questions, comments, or concerns that have to deal with the new dining system that has been put in place at Mercy. This is where change starts and the opinions of the student body are important and heavily considered. He, like Orla Fitzsimons, is thankful for the Mercy Community’s involvement and willingness to voice their opinions. 

According to Mercy’s dining website, residents get 19 swipes per week (up to four each week) and $200 premium flex dollars for $2,000 a semester for the all-you-can-eat residential plan. Community plans for non-residents are 25 semester swipes ($75 flex dollars) for $270 dollars, 50 swipes ($140 flex dollars) for  $525 and 75 swipes ($175 swipes) for $750. Premium Flex will carry over into the spring semester and expire at the end of the spring semester.