James Tananan Kamnuedkhun
This semester, bottomless pasta has been added to the dining options at the Evans Commons.
Residents and commuters with a valid meal plan can ask the cashier for a token and exchange it for extra servings of pasta.
It has not yet been decided whether the new option will carry over into the 2020-2021 school year. Dining Services Director Nancy Tinker said feedback and data will be reviewed with the food committee towards the end of the semester to determine whether or not the option is beneficial for students.
At the start of last semester, Evans switched from being completely all-you-can-eat to an a la carte system, a change some athletes criticized.
Lindenwood Student Government President Daniel Kennebeck said Football Coach Jed Stugart approached him last semester with concerns about athletes’ nutritional needs.
“Obviously the bigger football players, like the linemen, weightlifters, those high-intensity sports, they need to take in more calories each day, and he was just concerned that the a la carte option, as opposed to all-you-care-to-eat, was potentially not giving them enough calories,” Kennebeck said.
From there, LSG looked into the situation and LSG Vice President for Student Relations and Involvement Jack Bedtke ran a survey in October to evaluate students’ concerns.
Tinker said the bottomless pasta option was designed to offer additional calories to those that need them, especially student-athletes. Pedestal received input from the Food Committee, Pedestal surveys, the university’s senior leadership, and Lindenwood Student Government.
In a letter to the student body released Tuesday, University President John Porter responded to dining concerns LSG presented.
“A new committee comprised of a diverse group of stakeholders will be established to assess, review, and make recommendations for future food service changes,” Porter said in the letter.
Participation at the Evans dining hall had been falling for three years when it became a la carte, but has increased by 18% since then.
The athletic department also created a Nutrition Station in the Hyland Arena last semester to supplement in-season athletes’ diets with free snacks.
Kennebeck said he has not heard opinions from students on the new pasta option yet, but he is “quite pleased” with it.
“It doesn’t give you the protein and everything, but it gives the athletes that need it, a higher caloric intake, so that they’re able to compete better and stay up with their nutritional needs,” he said.
Tinker said pasta tokens are available during lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and brunch and dinner on Sunday.
Students are not required to order pasta initially in order to receive a portion of pasta.
“You can choose any menu item from Evans. If you are still hungry, you can come back for pasta,” Tinker said.
The pasta station offers various kinds of pasta, including ziti, penne, linguine, fettuccini, and wheat penne, which will be rotated periodically. Three sauce options – marinara, meat sauce, and alfredo – are also available.
Matt Hampton and Merlina San Nicolás Leyva contributed to this story.