As we all know by now, this semester’s on-campus dining options are not meeting expectations. From lackluster dining hall food to decreased hours of operations, students find themselves asking for what they paid for. Although Clemson has been great at getting us back on campus and, hopefully, back to class, the meals they are providing don’t add up. According to the USDA, the average 20-year-old biological woman needs 2400 calories per day, and the average 20-year-old biological man needs 3000. The university’s to-go meals are providing around 1,405 calories per day, give or take 200 calories. Those with dietary restrictions get even less than that, averaging about 795. These are not the numbers with which you can maintain good grades and healthy habits. Numbers aside, the meals are unappetizing. They usually just consist of a simple protein with a side of rice or vegetables, with the option of fruit in the morning. One meal this week was only taco beef and brown rice. As we all know, Freshmen are required to pay for meal plans, even though this is what they’re getting. 

Dining halls aside, students face yet another obstacle towards getting food - the decreased hours of operation all around campus. Most of the on-campus dining locations remain closed, and those that aren’t are only open for lunch, with some variation on the weekends. For on-campus food, dine-in isn’t an option and the lines are often very long. One last way they intend to open dining halls is by 15-minute appointment slots. 15 minutes is barely any time at all, and though, understandably, they need to have a cap on the number of people inside, there has to be a better way to do it. Perhaps they could have a certain number of appointment slots and some walk-in availability. These appointments leave students trying to plan their days around the nearest available lunch slot. It’s almost impossible to plan out every step of your day around the time that you get lunch, especially with online classes as they are. Food is a basic necessity, and one on-campus residents thought the university would provide. Again, we are all thankful to be back on campus and are glad that the university has worked hard to get us here. All we ask is better food options, especially since the purchase of an unlimited meal plan is required for all freshmen, and for on-campus restaurants to reopen for more than just lunch. We want nutrition that can properly fuel us, not set us up for failure. Times are already hard; we do not need this to add to it.

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