There is constant debate over which dining hall is the best on campus: Brower Commons on the College Avenue campus, Busch Dining Hall, Livingston Dining Commons and Neilson Dining Hall on Cook campus. Although Brower is the most hated one, it deserves some more love.
Brower’s prison-like atmosphere and mediocre food have made it into a joke amongst the Rutgers community. Yes, it could use some more windows, a paint job and maybe some more food options, but that is precisely what makes Brower unique: its simplicity.
People often complain about the limited number of entrees Brower offers and its repetitiveness. But for busy college students, this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is easy to plan out meals and go into the dining hall already having an idea of what you are going to eat.
Having a simple menu also means that you can designate certain dishes as "safety" foods that you can fall back on if you do not like the menus at the dining halls on other campuses.
In all honesty, the best and most popular food options at Brower are the pizza, stir-fry, pasta and salad bar — all of which are permanent options. If all else fails, there is always cereal, which is quite difficult to mess up.
Brower is conveniently located in the heart of the beloved College Avenue campus at Rutgers. It is the perfect place to dine after slaving away for hours at the library or to satiate your hunger after hitting the gym right across the street. Even the residence halls, academic buildings and lecture halls surrounding the dining hall are just a short walk away.
The College Avenue campus houses different groups of people who eat at the dining hall. Being able to socialize with people is important in making connections and long-lasting friendships throughout college. The diverse crowd of students at Brower is what makes it special.
By the end of your time at Rutgers, you will probably have seen everyone you have ever come across on campus eating at Brower. The place is so popular, making it easier to spark conversation or share a meal with a friend or classmate.
In a way, Brower is like a class in high school with a really unlikeable teacher. The students are annoyed by the class and most likely do not want to attend but have no other choice. They bond over their shared pain.
In the end, you end up tolerating and even enjoying the class because of the students and the special bond that was created. In this case, Rutgers students end up enjoying their time at Brower because of the time they spend with their friends, not only the food.
Even introverted students that prefer peace have a place at Brower. For the most part, the dining hall is empty and "dead" — for some, that is an ideal environment to get work done.
Students can claim their own corners and choose to stay for as long as they desire without worrying about having to rush to give up their tables. Even when Brower is packed, it never becomes a warzone like the Livingston dining hall.
Brower offers a sense of familiarity — like a cozy cafe or small-town diner. There is nothing more comforting than having dinner there with your friends after class or enjoying breakfast the next morning after a night out.
The music is the cherry on top. They play everything ranging from rock to country music, including those unmistakable Spotify ads. You could be listening to "Hallelujah" getting all emotional one minute and Ed Sheeran, the next, shifting the mood to romantic.
Despite all of these reasons, the best part about this dining hall is the Brower ladies. They never fail to make everyone’s day with their kindness. They single-handedly make Brower feel less like a prison and more like a home.
You enter the dining hall and exit with a smile plastered on your face. The Brower ladies can brighten up even the darkest of days.
When choosing the best dining hall at Rutgers, you must look beyond the food. Consider the people, the location and the overall experience. There is always something for everyone at Brower.
Vidhi Koli is a first-year student in the School of Arts and Sciences where she is undecided. Her column, 'Talk More,' runs on alternate Thursdays.
*Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.
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