Grab and Go: Fuel for Chargers on the Run

By Cal McNellie

A few semesters ago, Bon Appétit, the Hillsdale College’s catering company, began offering a “Grab and Go” option for student meals. Just as students swipe in for meals at the Knorr Dining Hall, they are now able to swipe their ID’s and pick up a premade lunch or dinner from several other spots on campus. Once they have swiped in, hungry students can choose one main item like a sandwich or large salad along with two sides and a drink to make a complete meal. The large refrigerators are stocked with delicious options like the ham and swiss croissant, the all-Italian sub, and the protein salad with eggs and walnuts. Stations are manned by Hillsdale students and are always able to offer meal suggestions. This new option has changed the way Hillsdale Chargers eat and provided a convenient option for students on the go – especially during the pandemic.

The Grab and Go option was especially useful for students, especially during the peak of the Coronavirus pandemic. Due to state mandates, the dining hall could only seat half of the students it normally could. For many students, this meant arriving very early to get a spot in line or waiting for a chair to open up upon arrival. This inconvenience led to many students choosing the Grab and Go option and eating at their home or the many beautiful outdoor spaces around Hillsdale’s campus. When the student body needed it most, the Grab and Go option allowed students to conveniently fill their stomachs while complying with the regulations. 

Many students have found that the new to go meals fit nicely with their busy schedule. Senior football player, John Pearson, has a difficult task juggling his commitments to his team and to his studies. Watching game film, reading, lifting weights, studying and finding social time makes his schedule chock full of events. “That’s why I like Grab and Go so much. I take my football and academics seriously so I can’t afford to fall behind.” 

John is able to eat a delicious meal while catching up on reading or preparing for a test. His frequent visits to Grab and Go have made him a bit of an aficionado on the meals available there. “I’ve had everything they serve,” John says. “My advice for anyone looking for a quick meal is the all-Italian sub. The roll is always fresh and the protein from the meat and cheese keeps me full.”

While Grab and Go has certainly impacted the lives of students who eat there, the staff  and students who work the counter have an interesting perspective to share as well. Junior Calvin Andrews has worked at the Kendall Hall Grab and Go station for the last semester and has really enjoyed the convenience Grab and Go has offered students. When asked if he thinks students appreciate the convenience Grab and Go, Andrews responded, “Absolutely. I personally have homework to finish through lunch every weekday so Grab and Go is crucial to me.” 

While this new way to enjoy meals on the Hillsdale Campus is convenient, providing this second dining option to students is hard work on the part of the meal service staff. Each morning, chefs can be seen behind the counter in the cafeteria filling yogurt and Nutella cups, making sandwiches and preparing other favorites. When this is finished, the staff will load the day’s meals into a cart and wheel the fresh creations to various locations on Campus. Braving wind, snow, sleet and hail, cafeteria staff deliver the food just in time for students to enjoy. Students notice and appreciate this effort and are always sure to hold the door for the cart ladies if passing through the entryway at the same time. The entire campus has recognized the good Grab and Go is and shows it with their actions.

For students like Andrews, Grab and Go also allows them to make a little money on the side while offering a quick meal to their classmates, a win-win situation. While working, Andrews is able to catch up on his homework and enjoy a sandwich from the case. “Most students have their headphones in or are doing some last minute studying as they make their choices so I can tell they are busy!” He recommends the ham and swiss croissant which, in his mind, is “The best sandwich by far.” For both workers and students, the grab and go option has been a net positive for the Hillsdale community.  

Though a fairly new phenomenon on the Hillsdale Campus, the Grab and Go option has already impacted the daily schedule of many students. Access to delicious food in a convenient way, especially during times like these, is always a big hit and Grab and Go fits that description perfectly. When first offered, Grab was an immediate hit on campus and due to its success, it will likely be a part of Hillsdale College for years to come.

Calvin McNellie, ’21, studies finance and politics. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio. A member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity and the Hillsdale College football team, Calvin’s interests include politics, fitness, woodworking, and jean shorts. He considers himself extremely blessed to be a student at Hillsdale College and a citizen of the greatest nation in the world.

Published in May 2021