The Davenport Controversy

The following is a writing assignment for my Journalism 100 class at the University of La Verne. Information was provided by the Professor to write a story for a class assignment. Information may be false, outdated, or changed by the Professor for educational purposes.

Person on the Street Assignment: The Davenport Controversy

At the University of La Verne, students have mixed opinions about the controversial dining facility, Davenport Hall. Ran by the company Bob Appétit, DP, as it is often called, serves students meals three times a day during week days and twice a day on weekends observing holidays and school breaks in an all-you-can-eat buffet style.

Bon Appétit prides itself in serving food that is fresh, local, and sustainable exploring the cuisine of many different cultures and food philosophies; serving normal diet students as well as those who classify themselves as vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free, etc. Recently, the dining facility has become aware of varying opinions on their services. To collect student input, they have held multiple nights in which its visitors can leave comments or take surveys in exchange for prizes and raffles; however participation is limited. A randomly selected group of 13 students were asked their thoughts on Davenport and Bon Appetite’s services.

The majority of students seem to be indifferent about Davenport, reporting equal likes and dislikes.

“I guess DP is okay. They have their good days and their off days,” said sophomore law major Stephanie Avalos.

Many students on campus have specific dietary needs or preferences which Bon Appetit strives to cater to. Placed on every table is a small stand which outlines a healthy diet on one side and reports on the other side the foods served are ecologically responsible and local. Bon Appetit also strives to serve food, especially seafood, that is sustainably farmed or caught.

“DP is pretty decent. I’m a pescatarian and a big activist for the environment, so I appreciate that they always have options for someone like me. There’s vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, and all their meat and sea food is created through sustainable farming. And I love how they stay stocked up on fresh fruit like pineapple and watermelon,” said freshman accounting major Joelene Kuuana.

Davenport, for the most part, caters to students who are residents living on campus as they are required to purchase a meal plan.

“I ate at DP all four years and now that I’m a grad student and live on campus as an RA, I still eat there most of the time. There’s not really that ‘starving college student’ sterotype here because if you live on campus you have to have a meal plan, which I think is really nice,” said graudate student Melanie Martinez.

Commuter students who use Davenport’s services often eat there out of convenience.

“Considering I live far and have late classes, it is pretty much my only option for food besides Barbs. And since I’m not a resident, I have to spend my own money there, not Leo Dollars.” said junior business major Ayotomiwa Tosin-Oni.

Commuters that occasionally dine at Davenport tend to have a more favorable opinion than residents.

“I’m a commuter, so I don’t really eat their often, but when I do I’m not disappointed. I’ve heard friends who are residents say they hate it, but I don’t have any complaints,” said freshman political science major Jordan Alfaro.

Students who enjoy Davenport’s services tend to credit the facilities’ success with it’s all-you-can-eat style and array of foods.

“I’ve had a few times where I’ve gone and nothing seemed appetizing, but that’s pretty rare. I like the food for the most part and that it’s all you can eat,” added Martinez.

Those eating at Davenport can go back and forth for as many servings as they want during the duration of their visit.

“For the most part I think DP is always poppin’ with some good food; and they don’t get stingy. We have steak, sushi, Italian, all sorts of good stuff. And you can get as much as you want as long as you’re there,” said senior law major Veronika Trujillo.

A school-wide favorite is themed days like Taco Tuesday, Pasta Bar Wednesday, and omelets in the morning.

“I love DP, especially in the morning. I always get an omelets when they have them and I really love pasta and sushi night,” said senior math major Wilmer Bataclan.

If the special of the day does not seem appetizing, there are many other options to choose from.

“I eat at DP almost every night. I get a little tired of chicken and rice being the main dish so often, but there’s always other options like pizza, the grill, or making a sandwich,” said junior communications major Autumn Indigo.

Students also credit DP’s pros with being able to customize your own plate.

“I’m a transfer student from Japan and am new this semester, but from my experiences at Davenport is that it’s much better than what I’m used to. There’s lots of options and build-your-own things; like the nacho bar, potato bar, ice cream bar, waffle bar, pasta bar, salad bar, omelets, and other stuff I still haven’t tried yet. I’m not complaining,” said freshman business major Koshiro Ashizawa

Despite favorable opinions, there are still those who dislike Davenport.

“I hate the food at Davenport. They put mushrooms on everything and they’re always serving chicken and rice,” said junior accounting major James Riley.

Some try to avoid eating there and only do if necessary.

“I prefer to go off campus to eat rather than at DP. I only go when I’m broke and really have to,” said sophomore Samantha Lasseter.

Many agree that Bon Appetit often serves the same meal repeatedly.

“They always serve some sort of meat and rice. It gets tiresome,” said senior philosophy major Laura Hadlow.

Complaints about the facility often include weekend hours and options.

“On the weekends the food and the hours suck, but I usually don’t eat there on those days,” said sophomore political science major Tyler Bennet.

Many weekends in a row breakfast for dinner has been reported and coined as Davenport’s weekend special.

“Their go-to dinner on the weekends is breakfast for dinner, which I just know has to be leftovers from the week. Gross,” added Hadlow.

As stated by Bon Appetit in many areas and flyers posted in and around Davenport Hall, it is a goal to serve food for those with special dietary needs and preferences. However, some students feel that their goal of inclusion does not represent the school’s ratio of vegans/vegetarians to normal dieted students, nor is it appetizing at all.

“I guess it’s nice that they try to cater to students that are vegetarian and whatnot, but they don’t have to cater to just them. It seems like half of the food is vegetarian, but that’s not half the school population. And tofu isn’t exactly liked by people who aren’t vegetarians,” said Riley.

Even some students with these preferences agree that vegan and vegetarian option often leave something to be desired.

“I appreciate that DP tries to cater to us vegans, but it’s just not good,” said Lasseter.

There is a lot of controversy about the dining facilities in classroom conversations, online school forums, and social media apps like Yik Yak.

Some believe the controversy is due to boredom.

“I don’t see any problems with it really, but a lot of people whine. There’s so many opinions that could be there because everyone has different tastes, so that’s why it’s such a hot topic on school evaluations and YikYak. I think people only talk bad about it just because they need something to complain about. And what’s easier to complain about than food?” said Trujillo.

Others cite the problem as a health issue.

“People always complain about getting sick from DP, especially on Yik Yak, talking about having diarrhea or to vomit soon after eating there. I think it’s the flies that buzz around on the stuff that stays out like the fruit, salad, pizza, and fries. That’s why I try to get stuff that’s freshly made or covered, like things from the grill or cereal. I don’t want food poisoning,” said Tosin-Oni.

Opinions on Bon Appetit’s Davenport seem to be very mixed. To help improve, Bon Appetit encourages those who visit to comment or take a survey and report any issues or suggestions. To do so, there are cards available at the front register and to the right of the condiment stand at the exit. For more information or to take a survey or leave a comment or suggestion electronically, visit http://laverne.cafebonappetit.com/ and scroll to the bottom of the page.

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