Students can now ‘grab and go’ for meals at Burge


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One floor below the Burge Hall Marketplace on Wednesday, a slew of students were benefiting from a new, faster lunch option.

At the start of this semester, University of Iowa dining officials opened the Grab and Go lunch program at Burge, which allows students to bypass lengthy cafeteria lines and take their meal outside the dining hall.

Anne Harkins, the operations manager at Burge Marketplace, said the crowds caused by the University of Iowa’s largest freshman class in history prompted Bruge dining officials to offer the option.

“Our lunches here are incredibly packed and we saw this as an opportunity to shift some of that business down there,” Harkins said.

The service is housed in a former staff breakroom and offers a main entrée, three sides, and a drink for one meal swipe. Students can also use Hawk Dollars or U-Charge, but no cash or credit is accepted.

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The launch on the first day of the semester saw 40 students, but Harkins said word has spread and the number of students using the option is rapidly increasing.

Just before 1 p.m. on Wednesday, 275 students had used the service.

Though Harkins said the program aims to cut down long lines, students said the biggest benefit is being able to eat a full meal during a busy day.

“It’s a way to grab something fast,” said UI senior Andrew Nielsen. “I don’t always have that time when I have to go and get somewhere.”

Nielsen said he was unimpressed with Grab and Go’s variety but expects it to expand soon.

Harkins said there are plans in place to open up a similar option in Hillcrest, likely in the fall, which will be housed in the renovated C-Store.

The university still offers a Lunch on the Go program as well, in which students fill out a meal request by 3 p.m. the day before. Nielsen, who’d used Lunch on the Go in the past, said the program was “too much of a hassle.”

Iowa State University has a similar “To-Go” program that started in the fall.

Students purchase a to-go container and have a limited amount of time to walk into the dining area and fill up their container with as much food as they can, as long as the container closes.

“I think that as students take on [a bigger] class load, students find it more convenient for them,” said Cameron Aisenbery, a communication specialist for Iowa State’s department of residence and dining.

On Wednesday, Katie Clark, a marketing and art major, was working Grab and Go’s checkout for her third time and said she noticed students are steadily coming in to take advantage of the new option.

A few students sat down to eat right outside the Grab and Go room to chat and study.

“It’s kind of bringing the Carnival Room back to life,” Clark said.

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