There’s no food on campus that I’d award a passing grade


I ate pesto pasta on the 21st floor of TU Berlin’s highest building, which is situated at one end of the central boulevard running across the city park to the city center.

The university put a cafeteria here, instead of a board room or a fancy restaurant. You can just go there to get a healthy meal at a fair price, in one of the city’s most special locations. While enjoying the view of the green carpet laid out by the city park, you can spot Berlin’s monuments bite after bite. Back in Eindhoven, I mostly see twenty-odd story towers made of frozen pizza boxes. 

It’s an intensely sad image, that skyline of pizza boxes in my student residence. According to a report by FoodService Instituut Nederland, my generation cooks less and less. Of course it’s true that we should cook more often, and do a better job of it. But the fact remains that a lot of students need a helping hand in this matter, and the eating facilities on campus aren’t extending this hand: there are no lunch or dinner options on campus that I’d award a passing grade on behalf of the student target group. 

The options are either not nutritious or too expensive, or the portions are too small. You’re basically served an unhealthy eating pattern. The best option for a student unwilling or unable to cook is for them to get invited to eat at a friend’s place. 

This spring, what I would like to do more than anything is load a huge pot of lentil stew onto my cargo bike, ride onto the KOEveld and start handing out servings in exchange for a voluntary contribution. I’m sure any expenses or losses could be covered from some budget or other. In Amsterdam they’re also doing this at the moment, to protest against cafeteria prices. It isn’t difficult to scale. I can already imagine the huge rows of long tables and food containers, dishing up a nutritious and filling meal for 5 euros every day. 

That’s not too much to ask, right? The dining hall is still a basic feature of many student cities all over Europe. In Eindhoven we had this for decades as well, at the Bunker. For just a few guilders (6 guilders in 1998 equaled 4 euros today), you could get a meal and refill your plate as many as four times. They once sold 1,800 meals a day. Today, there’s a restaurant with 3D printing as a high-tech gimmick in the renovated marble Bunker tower.  

I can’t wait for the dining hall to make its comeback. 


Tim de Jong studies Industrial Design at TU/e  

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