Breakfast, lunch and dinner at Boston College: best and worst eats

April 23, 2014 in Campus Life, Health, Reviews

Salad Bar

Salad Bar at Boston College

Unless you live in an apartment or have a kitchen, college is the only time where you won’t be expected to buy or cook food for yourself. We are lucky enough to have meals prepared and served for us for four entire years.

Unlike my previous school, which boasted a single dining hall filled with fried food, pasta, and a wilting salad bar, Boston College has two main dining halls, two smaller ones, and two small cafes that serve delicious coffee and pastries.

Mac and Lower, the two largest places to eat, have an array of food choices. The “Grill” and salad bar at both these locations remain fairly standard for both lunch and dinner: you can always count on having grilled chicken or steak with rice and steamed vegetables. The soups vary from day to day – going from bold ancient Aztec grain and kale linguica sausage soup, to classic clam chowder and comforting chicken noodle.  Although I prefer eating at Mac most of the time (the main dining hall on upper campus, partly because it’s five minutes from my dorm), the other dining hall named Lower has an array of healthy grains, such as quinoa, brown rice, couscous, barley, and beets with potatoes, meant to broaden the options for vegetarians. Though I’m not a vegetarian myself, I like to eat healthy, so those options are a great way to spice up my meals.

Lyons (also called “the Rat”) is a great place to eat if you’re a big breakfast person or in a rush during lunchtime. They have the best muffins, croissants, biggest variety of cereals, and vanilla Chobani yogurt. Though the other dining halls have blueberry and plain flavors, the vanilla is personally my favorite (if you’ve never tried mixing vanilla yogurt with cocoa powder then you’re missing out). The Rat also has a Panini press, so if you buy a cold premade sandwich, you can stick it in the press for a few minutes and voila – you have a (almost) gourmet sandwich! Plus, the Rat is right in the middle of campus, so your trek to class will end up being less than five minutes no matter where it is.

Eagles Nest, located right underneath Mac, is also a smaller, yet wildly popular dining hall. They make fresh tossed salads, and the best sandwiches. Although their flatbreads are delicious, the Mediterranean chicken sandwich – chicken breast, pesto, mozzarella, mustard, lettuce, and tomato on toasted multigrain baguette – is to die for. They have so many different options that change nearly every day, so there are always new things to try. Unfortunately, Eagles is only open from 11:30-3:30, so it’s best to avoid going right when class begins or ends – that’s when the biggest rushes occur.

Boston College also has two small cafes on campus: the Stokes Chocolate Bar, and Hillside Café. These two cafés do not accept the regular meal plan money, but use the alternate meal plan (mostly used by/meant for upperclassmen who have kitchens). Hillside is much more of a dining hall – their sandwiches are arguably even more delectable than the ones at Eagles, and they even make frappes! The Chocolate Bar, on the other hand, sponsored by Pete’s Coffee & Tea, is better known for its specialty coffees. Though they have containers of Chobani yogurt, fruit/vegetable platters, and pre-packaged sandwiches, this is the place to get your latte, gelato, or chocolate covered pretzels (or any other chocolate goodie, including the 6 inch diameter cookies).

Stokes Chocolate Bar

Stokes Chocolate Bar

Chocolate Bar Goodies

Chocolate Bar Goodies

Even though I’m lucky to have so many options to choose from, and the “specialty” sushi and burrito nights are exciting, the food still does get repetitive. After all, there are only so many dinners of fish or chicken with rice and vegetables one can eat! Overall, however, the standard of good quality food is consistent over all the dining halls and cafes; there are plenty of options for vegetarians (even vegans!), and for those who want to eat healthy or not.

Main Dining Hall on BC's Lower Campus

Main Dining Hall on BC’s Lower Campus

Staying Healthy and Active at BU

April 22, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Health

Loose Leafs salads at BU

Loose Leafs salads at BU

Actively staying healthy in college can be tough. There’s plenty of opportunity to eat horribly and binge drink. Not to mention the many excuses that college students come up with to not go to the gym (me included). At Boston University, it is simple to stay active and healthy. Below is a list of some effortless ways to stay active and healthy at BU. Just remember, don’t get lazy and stop following these easy rules!

1. Take a PDP

A PDP is the simplest way to ensure that you’ll actually go to the gym a couple times a week. A PDP is a credited gym class, so yes you get 1 or 2 credits on your transcript for taking a gym class! Think of it as a fun way to get yourself to the gym regularly. It’s also a nice break from the usual treadmill and weightlifting routine! Whether it be a 6-packs abs class or a cardio jazz funk class, BU offers hundreds of different PDP options bound to please almost every student.

2. Have a salad for lunch

BU has a great selection of food, which can be both a blessing and a curse. Even though that Panda Express might look good now, it’s not the best thing to put in your body. Try out the Loose Leafs salad bar in the GSU or make your own salad in one of the dining halls. It may to look as good as the greasy bacon cheeseburger, but switching to some healthier food options is such an easy way to stay healthy. And, BU has so many great healthy food options on campus!

3. Walk to class

While the T, the T bus, and the BU bus are all great amenities, they’re usually not necessary. If you live in West Campus at BU, try to walk to class at least a few times a week. It’s an easy way to get moving in the morning before class and get a little “work out” in (if walking half a mile to class counts as a work out for any of you). I’m guilty of taking any and all public transportation, but with a little push I’ll walk to and from class and it’s always a better feeling then packing myself on the crowded T at 9 am.

Dating on the Block Plan

April 21, 2014 in Campus Life, Love

Dating in college seems like it should be fairly uncomplicated, right? For the first time in your life, you are surrounded by tons of new and interesting people your own age. No parents, few rules, and an excess of alcohol to make you act just a bit more forward than you normally would, so you can approach that cute guy from your biology class. However easy it seems, though, dating in college is not the easiest, especially at CC.

At CC, everything changes every four weeks. This is because we work on the “Block Plan.” What is this mysterious system? Well, we take one class and only one class at a time for three and a half weeks. We then break for four days to do whatever we want to do—raft down a river in Utah, go up to Boulder to visit friends, or just stay in Colorado Springs and take a much needed rest.

The Block Plan is great, and I love most parts of it. However, one drawback of it is that it can somewhat hinder making new friendships, and also, dating. When everything changes so frequently, it makes fostering relationships difficult.

At CC, there is a thing called “Block Friends.” Basically, that means that we make friends with someone for the block, probably through our respective class, and then, unfortunately…the friendship ends after the block ends. This is an unfortunate reality that we deal with. Just like “Block Friends,” “Block Crushes” also seem to be a thing. People will date or hook up for the block, and then…sadly…it may end after those four weeks.

Of course, this is not always true. People of course have lasting relationships at CC. They are just few and far in between. At CC, people opt more for the hook up scene than long-term dating.

Many of CC’s power couples have been in relationships for a long time, maybe even since freshmen year when they first locked eyes in the co-ed bathroom or in the dining hall. For them, Colorado Springs has some great options for potential dates. Shuga’s is a favorite amongst CC students. It is a local restaurant in Colorado Springs with delicious sandwiches, salads, and soups, as well as some really tasty cocktails, such as lavender martinis. Another great option is Phantom Canyon, a large brewery downtown that has really great pub food, as well as a wide selection of beer and other drinks. Also, the dollar theatre downtown is a good option for the couple on a budget that wants to catch a flick and get some cheap, but still tasty, popcorn.

Although CC is not a huge dating school, and people are usually either “hooking up” or in long-term relationships, that does not mean that dating is not at all a thing. I have seen a large increase in casual dating amongst underclassmen, and I think it is great. Why not ask that cute girl on your hall or the guy you keep seeing in the library out for a simple cup of coffee or a bike ride They will most likely say yes. Then worst comes to worst, you have an awkward hour or two. Best case scenario, you meet someone awesome that you want to spend more time with! Dating is on the rise at CC, so take some chances and you will most likely be glad that you did!

College Dating

College Dating

Going with the Alternative: Wake Alternative Breaks (WABs)

April 21, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges, Travel

What did you do last fall, spring, or summer break? Maybe you went to the beach, or traveled home to work, or maybe you did an internship. Most people choose to do these things, but what if you wanted to go somewhere different? What if you wanted to travel and experience a different part of the country or world, while helping people at the same time?

Well, at Wake Forest there is an opportunity to have that experience. WAB, or Wake Alternative Break, is a series of programs scheduled during the school year and the summer in which students offer their time and energy in exchange for a cultural and philanthropic experience.

The Office of Campus Life & Leadership offers WAB trips during the fall, spring, winter and summer breaks. The trips vary in location, cost, and focus, but they all urge students to engage with communities to address social issues.

The single fall break trip is cost-free and requires no application. Students travel to Wake Forest, NC, the original location of WFU. Here, they learn about the history of the university and serve in a local soup kitchen. Trips like these forge bonds between students that might not normally interact on campus, not to mention they embody the university’s motto, Pro Humanitate, or For Humanity.

Over spring break, the WAB office offers ten different trips across the country. The trips range from Urban Community Development in Chicago to Sustainable Agriculture in New Orleans to Food Security in Washington D.C. Other locations include Knoxville, Nashville, Shenandoah, the Evergladesa staycation in Winston-Salem, and more. All of these trips are organized and led by current Wake undergraduates. Because of this, students leaders have a great deal of power over the activities and energy of the trip. Spring break trips have an application and cost $350, a fee that includes housing, transportation, service, and a partial food stipend for the duration of the trip. To check out pictures from various WAB trips, visit the WAB student website http://wfuwab.tumblr.com/.

Wake students preparing meals at DC's Central Kitchen

Wake students preparing meals at DC’s Central Kitchen

If you’re looking for an even greater cultural shift, look no further than the four different international WAB winter/summer break trips. For the past 20 years, Wake students have traveled to Kolkata, India to volunteer in orphanages, working with the sick and disabled. This trip, which occurs during winter break, also includes a cultural visit to the Taj Mahal. For the Vietnam trip, students help to build houses in rural areas while developing relationships with the local families, included but not limited to playing soccer with the children before sharing dinner with the community in the evenings.

Students stand in front of a house they built during a WAB trip

Students stand in front of a house they built during a WAB trip

Other international trips include service in an orphanage in Moscow, Russia as well as assistance in providing educational programs in Kigali, Rwanda. The cost of these programs is heightened due to increased food and travel costs, but these fees are really minimal when considering what students gain from the experience.

No matter how you choose to spend your break, at Wake Forest there’s always the opportunity to choose the alternative route. You never know where that path might take you.

To find out more about Wake Alternative Breaks, click here.

by Devin

Skip the Burger and Hit the Salad Bar

April 20, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Health

Even though there are a ton of options in regards to fitness at college it can be pretty difficult to stay in shape.  First of all, we are all so busy.  By the time I get out of class and finish writing my papers, reading hundreds of pages, and meeting for group projects exercise is one of the furthest things from my mind.

However, there is a ton of ways to stay healthy, if you really try.  My campus offers free access to the Rec Center with a student ID.  It is not the biggest gym but they have plenty of fitness machines, a weight room, racket ball courts, and exercise rooms with programs like P90X and other workout programs.  They also offer exercise classes.  However those do cost $20, but I have taken them in the past.  They offer classes ranging from yoga, zumba, boot camp, etc.  For me signing up for an exercise class was the most productive way for me to stay in shape.  If I pay $20 for something I am a lot more motivated to stick with it.

This past semester my roommates and I were doing Insanity and yoga in our apartment every night.  It worked for a while but slowly we became less and less committed.  That is why I would recommend signing up for a class if typically find it hard to stick to a workout regimen.  I used to be pretty good about going to the gym freshman year.  Now, however, I almost never go.  It was easy to go when I hardly had any work, but it can be so hard to find free time as a second semester senior.

But even if you are dedicated to working out there is still the challenge of eating right.  This is probably the hardest part about living on campus.  It is so easy to grab a burger or a huge plate of pasta at the dining hall and walk right by the salad bar.  But even having your own kitchen doesn’t necessarily make eating healthy any easier.  Healthy food, for one, is so expensive, most of the time I find myself buying boxes of pasta and peanut butter because they are quick and easy to cook.  Who has time to dedicate all day cooking a gourmet meal?  And even if you do buy healthy foods what is to stop you and your roommates from ordering a pizza at 2 in the morning on a Saturday?

College throws out so many obstacles when it comes to staying healthy.  The best advice I have is to just make little changes.  Sign up for a fitness class so you are forced to workout at least a couple of times a week.  Don’t skip the salad bar at the dining hall, even replacing just one meal a day with something healthy is a good place to start.  Take the long way to class, use the stairs instead of the elevator, and walk rather than drive whenever possible.  And on nice, sunny days go outside and play some basket ball, volleyball, or if your school offers it rent a bike and go for a bike ride.

If you can learn to live a healthy lifestyle at college you can do it anywhere.

Staying in Shape

Staying in Shape