Friday, May 1, 2015

The Do's and Don't's of Alliot Hall

I'll admit, my visits to Alliot--our older student center here at Saint Mike's where the main dining hall is located--have been very scarce lately. I tend to only stop in when I don't have time to cook for myself, and even then I'm normally in a rush so I grab something to eat on the go. I did have a sit-down meal for Thanksgiving dinner, an event I would never miss. But otherwise, I've enjoyed having a quiet, late-night dinner at my house, normally with one of my roommates.

Don't get me wrong, the food in Alliot is pretty great and it's always nice to run into friends or say hello to the friendly staff. But after the end of your second or third year, you'll probably appreciate having the option to not eat cafeteria-style every day as much as I do. And if you'd rather not cook for yourself, you can still keep your unlimited meal plan. Plenty of my friends use theirs daily, and they love the convenience Alliot offers as well as the well-balanced meals they can choose from.

Either way, it's good to know that Alliot etiquette is something to take note of. A recent visit reminded me that it's important to remember that this is a shared space, one that students respect and maintain as a way of making meals delightful for everyone.

Here's a few things to keep in mind:

1.) DO pronounce it Alli-OH. Silent T. We're French here, folks.
DON'T say Alli-oT. Everyone will know you're a noob.

2.) DO refer to the dining hall as Alliot.
DON'T call it the "Green Mountain Dining Room." Ever. Yes, that is its formal name. No, nobody actually uses it. If you do...again, noob.

3.) DO have your Knightcard ready for Rosemary to swipe at the front desk.
DON'T wait until you get to the desk to go fishing through your bag, pockets, etc. trying to find it. Nobody likes to wait in line behind someone who's unprepared when they're hungry.
DON'T wear your Knightcard on a lanyard around your me, just don't.

4.) DO get to know Rosemary well. Ask her how her day is going or what she recommends on the menu. Believe me, she's a cool lady and being friends with her has its perks (can anyone say, free coffee? Swiper no swiping!)
DON'T make Rosemary angry. Ever.

5.) DO bring in your laptop, books, notebooks, etc. ONLY when it's not busy. Wanna grab a snack while you work on that paper? No problem, as long as it's off peak hours (like 3-4, when it's too late for lunch but too early for dinner) and you sit in a corner space where you're not taking up a ton of table room.
DON'T expect to work on homework during dinnertime. It's too loud, crowded, and distracting. Leave your laptop in your backpack and place it in a cubby or the coat-check area, or drop it off at your dorm between class and dinner.

6.) DO make solid plans for what time to meet your friends for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, and make sure you all show up together.
DON'T expect to be able to find them or get a seat near them if you don't make those plans.

Because on Thanksgiving, you want to be able to chow down in front of people you're not self-conscious with.

7.) DO wait patiently in line at the stir-fry station or the grill.
DON'T cut the line or yell at the servers if they got your order wrong. Come on guys, we're adults here.

8.) DO feel free to mix and match at each station. Wanna grab a burger, but also try the quinoa salad at the vegan station? There's no judging here. Go for it!
DON'T cross-contaminate food. There's a reason why the peanut butter is at a separate station than the jelly. Use the utensils provided for each food, and be conscious of what it touches on your plate.

9.) DO use the bagel tongs. And the cookie tongs. Please, just, if there are tongs, use them.
DON'T pick something up with your hands, look at it, and put it back.

10.) DO participate in a cup-drop IF and ONLY IF you have an empty cup available to you.
DO pick the cup back up after dropping it.
DON'T throw your cup.
DON'T drop your cup if there is liquid inside of it.
DON'T start a cup-drop just because. Cup-drops happen after one person accidentally DROPS a CUP.
DON'T drop (or throw) anything else on purpose, including but not limited to: utensils, food, people.

11.) DO let a worker know if the creemee machine is broken.
DON'T break the creemee machine and then walk away.

12.) DO invite others to sit with you, if you're feeling in the spirit.
DON'T keep asking if they said no once already.
DON'T feel offended if they say no--chances are it's a good reason, like they're waiting for someone, in a rush, working on something, or maybe they just want some alone time. They know the offer stands and they're surely grateful for it, but they also don't owe you their presence--or an explanation.

13.) DO clean up your spot when you're finished eating.
DON'T leave a mess. Come on. Not cool.

14.) DO scrape any unwanted food from your plate into the compost bin, and place your dishes neatly on the conveyor belt.
DON'T throw something that's not biodegradable in the compost. It is not a trash can. One thing that many people don't know can't be composted--the string to your teabag. Detach it from the bag and leave it on your plate. It'll be taken care of when it goes through the conveyor.

15.) DO take as much food as you want. After all, you're paying for it and it's buffet-style for a reason.
DON'T waste food. If you're still hungry for more you can always go back up for seconds (or thirds...we're all guilty of it).

16.) DO talk to our amazing staff at Alliot about your food restrictions or allergies.
DON'T suffer in silence. Please don't do that.

17.) DO be considerate of Alliot's hours of operation. (7:15 am-8:00 pm on weekdays)
DON'T expect to have a huge selection for dinner if you walk in at 7:50.

18.) DO ask the Alliot staff about the bag lunch option if you're in class or on the run all day.
DON'T go all day without eating because you think you're too busy to stop in Alliot.

19.) DO take advantage of our other dining hall, Knights at the Round Table (but please, call it Sloane--it's in Sloane Hall), the restaurant-style option on North Campus. It's included in the meal plan.
DO call and make reservations before you go.
DON'T forget to check the Sloane menu, which changes every two weeks!

20.) DO make requests/give compliments on the comment cards in Alliot and Sloane. They're there for you and your voice counts!
DON'T forget to thank the awesome staff--DON'T let their hard work go unnoticed!

Well friends, bon apetit!

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