A few Bwog staffers met with the Compass team at Hewitt Food Hall for an in-person overview of the new additions to Barnard Dining. All attendees wore masks and distanced themselves from each other.

On Wednesday evening, a few of our staffers met with Marketing Director David Golden, Director of Operations and Culinary Director Vince Picciotto, Retail Executive Chef Abel Polanco Acosta, and Resident District Manager Livia Drake to learn more about the recent revisions to Barnard dining. Here’s what they had to say.

How to order food

Barnard Dining uses the interconnected system, Dine On Campus, for the website, menus, and app, and any platform can be used to look up menus and nutritional information. At Hewitt and Liz’s Place, students can do walk-up ordering, but due to space limitations, Diana requires an app order ahead of time, through the BOOST app. Mobile pick-up ordering can also be done at Liz’s, but it is the only way to order at Diana. All dining locations accept meal swipes, points, or regular credit/debit cards. These locations do not accept cash due to COVID-19.

What can you eat?

Hewitt is currently the only Barnard dining hall where you can get your meal in-person (as Liz’s is a café, and Diana is only online ordering). Those on campus last year are familiar with the different themed stations at Hewitt, and not much has changed. 

  • “500 degrees” serves pizza and pasta. 
  • “Homestyle” serves a changing daily menu, usually a meat, some sort of carb, and cooked vegetables. “Homestyle” sometimes has themed days, which can be anything from “Caribbean” to “Thanksgiving,” to what Bwog staffers got to try on Wednesday: “Sweet Home Café,” a menu based on the café located in the National Museum of African American History and Culture. In the mornings, “Homestyle” serves hot breakfast. All food in “Homestyle” is certified halal, though it is not labeled.  
  • “Flame” serves various grill items, such as hot dogs and burgers. In the mornings, it serves omelets. Like “Homestyle,” “Flame” is also certified halal, though it also lacks the label for this designation as of right now.
  • “Student Choice” is only open in the mornings and afternoons, and it houses the made-to-order smoothie station that used to be in Diana.
  • “FYUL” serves options for people with dietary restrictions. All food is vegan, and also certified Big-8 allergen-free. Typically, FYUL food consists of grains, root vegetables, and stews. Additionally, if you have a specific allergy or want to develop a specialized nutrition plan, you can contact Barnard’s resident dietician Carly Erskine at carly-erskine@compass-usa.com.

The former salad bar area is now a place for grab-and-go items. Students can take sandwiches, chips, pre-packaged salads, deserts, and other individually-packed food items. Hewitt also houses the only certified Kosher dining on campus, at their Kosher station. This kitchen is the only Kosher kitchen at Columbia, and it not only serves food at Hewitt, but also prepares all Kosher food across dining locations.

COVID-19 Precautions

Though Hewitt has reopened after its closure last semester, restrictions due to COVID-19 mean that it is operating a little differently this year. Major changes include that all food is to-go, students can no longer serve themselves, and everything has been streamlined with the goal of getting students in and out within ten minutes. There are also six-feet markers throughout the dining areas to increase social distancing. High-contact services are cleaned every thirty minutes, and the entire dining area is deep-cleaned during downtime (between lunch and dinner, and again after dinner). Surfaces like the drink machines are also covered with antimicrobial tape to decrease the risk of virus transmission.

In order to keep the dining staff safe, staff members perform wellness checks at the start of every shift, take weekly COVID-19 tests through the Barnard testing program, use PPE, and have strict quarantine and contact tracing protocol if a staff member gets sick. Staff members are allotted paid sick days and days off with no negative repercussions if they do contract COVID-19. 

If a student or staff member witness a violation of COVID-19 protocols, they can report the violation through the QR codes scattered throughout campus.

Facilities and Events

As you exit Hewitt through the back room, you’ll see a blue curtain containing the food packaging station. This station is ready to be used for staff in the event that there is a mass quarantine across campus, so that students can get meals delivered to them in their dorms. Along your exit, you’ll also notice a remodeled hallway with pictures of students and a community board that students can flyer with events they want the community to know about.

Though special dining events can no longer be hosted in the dining halls, Hewitt has tried to somewhat recreate the experience of these events by having DIY kits for special events, such as a chocolate dipping kit with fruit. Hewitt also plans to have “make it at home” meal boxes, which will give students ingredients along with a video recipe, so they can make a meal at home (a little like Blue Apron or other such services). 

Compass team at Hewitt via Bwog Staff

All images via Bwog Staff.