Note: “Eau Claire eats” is an on-going opinion column where Spectator writers explore the intersections between food and the community.
UW-Eau Claire tries to provide a diverse and inclusive experience for its students in many ways, according to an article on their website. The Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity page on Eau Claire’s website stated the university is “committed to creating a campus that is open, supportive and focused on racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia.”
There have been times on campus when the university has shown its support and stance to make it a place for every individual. There are safe spaces at the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, programs and services provided by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and more projects strive to protect the university’s students and staff. But what about celebrating and experiencing culture in other ways?
One of the ways a variety of cultures are seen throughout campus is in its dining options. UW-Eau Claire has multiple places on campus where students can stop between classes.
It’s not all pizza and sandwiches. Food options range from American, Mexican and Italian to Mongolian and Japanese and there is always a homestyle meal in Riverview Cafe.
The Davies Student Center is where students can find the biggest variety of culturally diverse foods. Holly McFarlane, a second-year English student, said Davies is her favorite place to eat while on lower-campus.
“It’s higher quality food and there are more options. And it’s close,” McFarlane said.
With places like SushiDo, Mongolian Grill, D’Italia and Taqueria, there is more for students to try and feel like they experience something other than American food for every meal.
The chicken teriyaki bowl, the Mongolian food cooked on a giant flat top in front of you and a variety of Mexican food are some of the diverse staples seen as students walk around lunch tables in Davies.
Braedon Laundrie, a third-year geology student, said Davies has a good variety of cultures represented in the dining options.
“They seem to have a good arrangement,” Laundrie said. “It would be nice to have more of an arrangement of Asian food or more American style (food) that’s not pizza, like homestyle.”
Although there are some options provided for students to get away from the same things day after day, there is still a want for more culturally diverse foods around campus.
Samantha Ruppert, a first-year secondary education and English student, said she’d like to see more cultures that aren’t as common.
“I feel like it’d be cool if they expanded a little more to (cultures) we don’t hear about as often,” Ruppert said. “But the ones they do have are pretty good.”
Eau Claire prides itself on being inclusive and diverse and it tries to go beyond the classroom, it’s students and it’s staff. While they have provided some options for students to engage in a culture through its food, there is opportunity to include more and make available these options to students daily.
“I think they could improve on it,” McFarlane said. “Just because it’s like your standard American food and then there’s one or two diverse options, so they could expand a little bit.”
Food can be a big part of culture and the ability for students to experience a new culture while eating lunch on campus is an opportunity UW-Eau Claire can provide.
Ruppert said she would welcome any cultural dining additions if Eau Claire were to offer more options.
“I’ll literally try anything with food,” Ruppert said.
VanDenMeerendonk can be reached at [email protected].