BY KARI FOSSUM ’20
Students returning to the Mount Holyoke campus for the spring semester were welcomed with the opening of the long-awaited centralized Dining Commons. The comfort and cuisine of the previously scattered dining halls into SuperBlanch streamlines the day-to-day hustle of many Mount Holyoke students.
These changes have had a noteworthy impact on student athletes. Athletic practices often continue into the late evening. This made getting to the former dining halls, which typically closed their services by 7:30 p.m., very difficult. Rich Perna, the Director of Dining Services, took this into account when constructing the schedule for the new Dining Commons. With various stations open from 7:15 a.m. until midnight, SuperBlanch enables athletes to fuel up for the earliest practices and the latest games.
“Last semester,” said crew team member Kate Dutilly ’21, “we would practice from 7 a.m. until 9:45 a.m. and were never able to eat because breakfast closed at 10 p.m. SuperBlanch’s extended hours make it much easier for us to get to the dining hall despite our practice times.” Swim team member Ashton Bliss ’21 said, “Practice times and meal times tend to overlap and the new hours make the Dining Commons accessible for my teammates and I.”
One service is the provision of food to Mount Holyoke athletic teams to take with them to games. In the future, Perna hoped to make these meals more personalized to teams and their specific needs; student athletes are eager to see these new concepts come to fruition. Equestrian Haluwa Jefwa ’21 is very impressed with the expanded offerings available in the Dining Commons. “I like that there is a much bigger selection of cooked vegetables and fresh fruit,” said Jefwa. “It is also great that everyone comes together in SuperBlanch; even if we aren’t having a team meal, I know that I’ll probably run into a teammate.”
The metamorphosis of the Blanchard Campus Center into the Dining Commons has changed the landscape of Mount Holyoke. Condensing the dining experience into a unified, central space, the Dining Commons brings members of the Mount Holyoke community together, including members of the College’s 14 varsity sports teams.
In an email sent to student athletes on Sunday, Bri Groves, chair of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, urged athletes to voice their concerns — positive, negative or neutral — to Dining Services. SAAC will also be providing an opportunity for athletes to give their feedback on SuperBlanch, and to facilitate communication between Athletics and Dining Services.