The Commons transforms look and system

By The Beacon | September 10, 2010 9:00pm

Students experienced a new look and a new system in The Commons this week.

The Commons undergoes finals stages of renovation during Orientation Week. The new Bauccio Commons features an increased variety of eating options, as well as new seating. (Kevin Kadooka -- The Beacon)

By Jocelyne LaFortune, Staff Writer --

As of Sunday, Aug. 29, the newly renovated Commons was officially open for business sporting not only a new look but a new payment system as well.

Rather than using the previous all-you-can-eat system, students must now pay for each plate they choose. Instead of subtracting from a weekly meal allowance, students now purchase points for use at The Commons, The Cove, The Anchor and the coffee cart in Franz.

Bon Appétit General Manager Kirk Mustain said the new system will change how he plans and prepares meals, because he must now offer meals that students find worth spending points on.

The new point system affects off campus students as well as those living in the dorms. Off campus students can purchase points or use cash or debit cards at all Bon Appétit vendors on campus. Points, called "Munch Money," can be purchased in the Bon Appétit office using cash or check, according to Mustain.

The Commons now features several permanent stations students may choose from at each meal. The stations include a taqueria, pizza stand, soup station, a salad bar and a global station, where ethnic foods rotate on a weekly basis.

Extensive remodeling has made the commons "classier and more comfortable," sophomore Trevor Webber said.

Couches and outdoor seating have transformed the atmosphere of The Commons.

"The fire pit gives The Commons a lounge-like feel," sophomore Jordan LaBrec said.

Despite delays in the construction process in the interior of the building, The Commons opened for its first meal on Sunday morning.

The first meal was mostly a success, despite some overcrowding issues.

"There were some problems with lines, since there aren't many registers," Webber said. "Hopefully as the semester goes on, the lines will become less of an issue."

LaBrec worries that he will run out of points before the end of the semester because this year he has to budget his points rather than relying on a weekly meal allowance.

"I didn't really appreciate the old system until we started using this new one," LaBrec said. "I thought some of the meals seemed kind of expensive. It might be hard to conserve points over the span of an entire semester."

Webber and LaBrec both agreed that they hope the new system provides more variety and options for meals.

"Last year, the menus were predictable every day, but with the stations we'll be able to choose what we eat for each meal," Webber said.

The Commons also begans a new extended schedule. Instead of being open for three meals a day, students can now eat at any time from 7:30 a.m. until midnight, Sunday through Thursday, or until 11 p.m. on weekends.

The Cove's menu will remain the same, although the hours of operation have changed due to extended hours at The Commons.

Weekly menus for The Commons and The Cove are available in the Campus Life section of the UP website.