As a liberal institution, Lawrence is in the midst of cultural and political changes, including a new wave of food consciousness. Gluten intolerances are on the rise alongside vegetarianism and veganism, yielding a change in perspective on food preparation.
Many universities are not receptive to morphing millennial food culture, providing few to no options to cater to the entire student body.
Bon Appetit makes changes each term with the goal of improving daily food conditions for Lawrence students. These changes, while sometimes thoughtful and consciously made, can also have rebounding effects, causing distress or worry for Lawrentians.
In Andrew Commons, my saving grace when in need of food was the amount of bananas available on a near-daily basis. They are the perfect addition to any meal, providing potassium on cold winter days and a refreshing taste in any fruit combination. Without this super fruit, our malnourished, sickly bodies would lack the proper nutrients to survive in the great north of Wisconsin.
Recently, there were several changes in the layout and offerings of Andrew Commons. In Spring and Fall Terms, the commons had more fruit bins and panini presses, modified salad and sandwich stations, and only gluten free cookie options. While the appearance of a collective food consciousness from Bon Appetit is somewhat comforting, the recent lack of fruit in the commons is worrisome for many students.
For the past several years, there were bins situated in the commons, typically overflowing with assorted fruits, featuring bananas at least three times each week. These yellow beacons of light provided smiles and nutrient-rich snacks to hungry Lawrentians.
There are now fewer fruit options available to students, a noticeable change for junior Kristina Verhasselt. She said, “I miss having fruit in my diet. Bananas have always been a staple.” Verhasselt noticed that the amount of bananas has decreased severely since returning from her term abroad and was nagged by the idea that there are fewer daily fruit options.
This change has not gone unnoticed by other students on campus, stretching from Alexander Gymnasium to the Conservatory. Senior Justin Coyne stated, “I have noticed this change. Every Tuesday [or] Thursday, they had bananas, and now they don’t have them. I’m pretty upset. I usually would get a banana with lunch.”
Rather than being in fruit bins, bananas are now only available in small bowls—positioned so that they go unnoticed by many students—or for purchase in the cafe or corner store. Having to pay for her daily banana fix prompted junior Alaina Leisten: “When you’re charging more than half of a dollar for a piece of fruit on culinary cash, it’s a little goofy. Now you can pretty much only get them in sack lunches and that’s frustrating.”
In response to my questioning the whereabouts of the fruit bins, Bon Appetit representatives were less than excited to provide their answers. I received no response to my emails, further emphasizing the question: where has the fruit gone?
The banana disappearance has touched the lives of Lawrentians, bringing the importance of the fruit to light. As these changes continue to gain attention, Lawrentians must rise up, grab the banana by the peel and hope for a better tomorrow.