Give me Berk or give me death

By Gabby Vacarelo

(Daily Collegian Archives)
(Daily Collegian Archives)

You might think the most important part of your life is school, work or partying, but let’s be real: it’s food. Here at the University of Massachusetts, there are four dining commons. Only two of them really matter, and you all know which ones I’m talking about.

Okay, I might be exaggerating a bit; I have to admit that Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester all have their own perks.

Let’s start with Berkshire Dining Commons, the pride and joy of the UMass culinary experience. It may be difficult to find seating during peak times (trying to snag one of the comfy booths is like the Hunger Games 2.0), but we all know it’s worth it. Pasta Pronto, the quesadillas, the vegetarian station, the pancake bar – what’s not to love? While all the other DCs tend to be hit or miss, Berk appeals to everyone, besides possibly Satan. Not to mention that the Berk dishwashers are the kings of this school. If you ever want good party jams, I strongly recommend hitting up the dish room for their playlist. Plus, Late Night at Berk is always on point.

However, we should definitely talk about what’s up with the fries now. I’m interested in the soft golden potato goodness that Berk previously provided on a daily basis, not the knock-off Hamp fries they’re trying to poison us with now. I’ll keep eating them since Berk is my religion, but I just want some answers here.

The runner-up is Hampshire Dining Commons, obviously. This is the option for all the health fanatics and sustainability majors. My best friend and I constantly find ourselves bullying our eco-friendly, physically fit pals into walking the extra two minutes to Berk simply because we like to rebel against anything that is ultimately good for us. But the truth is, I’m a sucker for Hamp’s breakfast on weekdays, their smoothies and juices are to die for, and they have the perfect seating arrangement. Hamp may not be my favorite DC, but I have to admit it’s the perfect sanctuary for alone time and quiet meals by yourself. Besides, where else can you find a place that not only allows, but encourages you to hurl knives down a chute? In all honesty, I don’t have any complaints besides the presence of frozen yogurt over ice cream. Like, let’s calm down. I’m a college student, not a 40-year-old woman on a diet.

Third place, as we all know, is dear old Franklin Dining Commons. I rarely go there because it’s out of my way; my trips to Frank are usually self-rewards after picking up a prescription at the University Health Services pharmacy or just when I feel like taking a trek to the other side of campus. My favorite thing about these rare visits to Frank isn’t the food – though it is adequate – but rather the environment. While I adore the beautiful chaos of Berk, the calmness of Frank fills me with serenity. I especially love the huge windows with the colorful pull-down shades and the large tables that are perfect for groups. Frank’s whole vibe reminds me of that one friend you really like but don’t hang out with much, and when you get together you’re reminded of just how awesome they are.

Last, and definitely least, is Worcester Dining Commons. I must say, it’s the perfect place for crying. I’ve taken my fair share of rainy walks to Northeast to sob into my food in peace, because public crying is more fun when everyone else is just as alone and sad. On a positive note, my sources tell me that sometimes they don’t lock the doors after midnight because, let’s be real, who would ever go to Worcester, let alone after it has closed? The staff probably double checks the locks now but, hey, if you’re ever up for an adventure and a bowl of 2 a.m. cereal, Worcester could be the place for you.

As we all know, these are just my personal opinions as a diehard Berk girl. You might find yourself a Hamp hippie, a passionate supporter of Worcester’s mood-killing essence or a worshipper of Frank’s mediocrity. Whatever dining hall you choose to align your beliefs with, stand proud. UMass Dining is a beautiful gift that we should all learn to appreciate a little more, except for when they play live music when you’re fighting a hangover.

Gabby Vacarelo is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]