Every university has that one magical spot that draws students. They flock there either to eat, or to hurriedly scrape together an assignment, or just to hang out. Of course, the cafeteria! Nobody can deny that the cafeteria (referred to as the canteen by the fuddy-duddies) receives more attention and footfall than any other place on campus. Why, then, do we choose to pay so little attention to it?
Lets face facts; most colleges have canteens that are small, dark, dingy, and all-round unhygienic. There are legendary tales of students finding creepy-crawlies in their rajma-chawals. Not having learnt from older universities, there seem to be few new institutions that have realised the impact that a clean cafeteria makes on the universitys image. Be it the starving students, or the equally famished faculty, everybody needs to eat.
Food For Thought
The first thing that one associates with a cafeteria is food. If you were once a college student, youd remember the cheap canteen fare. And, how the company you were with, more than made up for the lacklustre taste. Is Gen Y happy with mediocrity, though?
Making-do seems to be a thing of the past. Nowadays, good, old (in every sense of the word), cheap food is blas. A college campus isnt a proper campus without, at the very least, a Nescafe stall.
Sure, students and faculty alike cant resist the oily dosas or samosas and the overly-sweet, milky cups of tea, but is the health-conscious Gen-Y, used to lattes and lettuce, going to stay silent long over chaats and pakoras?
With the influx of bigger brands than Nescafe, the availability of quality food is now no longer out of reach. However, if we keep in mind the targeted audience, we might just notice a contradiction of sorts. While wanting to be healthy is all well and good, who can resist unhealthy food at the end of the day? The charm of a canteen is that it is affordable and that it remains affordable for all who pass through that outdoor classroom. Says Chandni Gupta, an ex-student of Delhi University, The canteen was where we spent our time. We were perpetually on a tight budget. The hanging out area had to be affordable.