picture inside of West End Dining Hall

The West End Dining Hall is one of the many dining options available for Pirates at East Carolina University.

East Carolina University Dining Services is continuing its mission this semester to broaden its food options, promote nutrition and give students, faculty and staff a positive dining experience.

Director of ECU Dining Services Celia Daniels wrote in an email statement that it is her job to manage ECU dining’s plans, present and future, to meet the needs of all ECU students, faculty and staff. The newest addition to this plan is Yo-Kai Express, Daniels wrote.

“Yo-Kai is now operating in Wright Place. Yo-Kai is a noodle bowl robot that offers a wide variety of noodle bowls from a variety of cuisines,” Daniels wrote.

It’s important to ECU Dining Services for the university community to maintain a balanced diet, Daniels wrote. Including healthier options in the dining halls, she wrote, and different brands such as Au Bon Pain allow students to make these decisions for themselves.

ECU Dining Services’ future plans include relocating Einstein Bros. Bagels to a more accessible area and implementing new additions to the Main Campus Student Center (MCSC) Pirate Market, Daniels wrote.

In both dining halls, “Smart Choices” are marked on the menus, Daniels wrote. Foods that are Smart Choices have less than 10 percent of their calories from saturated fats, Daniels wrote, as well as less than 25 percent of their calories from sugars and include three grams or more of fiber. ECU Dining Services’ chefs and registered dietician host educational programs about nutrition throughout the semester, she wrote.

“One of January’s programs is focused on plant-based milks, the health benefits and environmental impact they have when you make those choices,” Daniels wrote. “There are at least two programs per month in both dining halls, giving students the opportunity to learn and interact with the dietitian.”

Freshman computer science major Even Cespedes said his experience with university dining has been very positive so far. Cespedes said he went to the dining hall for the first time recently and was impressed by the quality of service and food choices offered.

“The dining halls are more than enough,” Cespedes said. “You can ask for anything on the menu, and if they don’t have it ready, they’ll make it right there fresh.”

Cespedes said he would not change much about ECU dining, but he plans to switch to a fully organic diet eventually. It is not easy to make the change while living on campus, Cespedes said. He said students with different cultural backgrounds or religious customs should have more representation in the food choices as well.

The quality of service at ECU dining locations is very high, Cespedes said. He said the employees at all locations have been polite and do great at their job.

“The service is perfect in my opinion,” Cespedes said. “They are very kind, very friendly. At the Port City Java, I go there and have a whole conversation with them.”

MCSC employee Jazmyn Edwards said she assists students with any problems or questions they may have when dining at the MCSC Pirate Market.

Edwards said she appreciated the dining locations that are currently open at the MCSC, but the variety of choices for students could still be better.

“I think we should have something like Japanese (or) pizza. I think it could be a better variety than what we have,” Edwards said.

The meal plan system is a very positive aspect of ECU dining, Edwards said. She said students have a lot of flexibility on what they are able to choose without worrying about going hungry.

Edwards said she does not eat on campus every day, but she frequents Starbucks the most out of any other dining location.

“The service at Starbucks is always phenomenal,” Edwards said. “I do feel like maybe they could make it a little more personal to people, meaning making my experience exciting when I do go through the line.”

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