There’s no denying it—Commons has spoiled us. The lengths to which one small liberal arts college will go to satiate its student body never cease to amaze me. Whether it’s waiting eagerly in the long lines for Pad Thai or for a breakfast omelet, helping ourselves to a buffet of ice cream on Sundae Sundays, or remembering that the infamous cereal wall with dangerously hot bowls will always have our backs, I think we can all safely admit that Bates Dining Services has truly outdone itself.

Commons has managed to host multiple stations, employ some of the happiest people on campus, and remain a top-notch college dining experience while priding itself on sustainable practices. Not too bad— but it gets even better.

The idea that the Bates experience ought to be enjoyed by all doesn’t stop at the doors of academia and extracurricular clubs and activities, but permeates through the doors of Commons, as it continues to grow and make more of an effort to be able to cater to any and every student.

The little color-coded labels at the food stations might not mean a whole lot to many, but to those with dietary restrictions, those little cards are a true blessing from the food gods—our friends from Commons who decided that everyone should be able to fully savor their meal without gingerly picking through their food with a fork, eyeing their plate for potential pieces of meat, gluten, nuts, or basically anything that might either cause an unpleasant immunological or philosophical situation.

As if the labels as of last year (i.e. nuts, dairy, egg, pork, fish, shellfish, vegan, coconut, and gluten friendly) weren’t enough, this year Commons presented Batesies with a brand new label: soy. While many, myself included, didn’t completely appreciate the importance of adding this tenth label, the magnitude of doing so finally dawned on me when I took the time to think about it. We have become so accustomed to these labels that we don’t give them a second thought; however, we must remember and take pride in the fact that our incredible dining staff continues to add labels, constantly trying to remain aware of dietary restrictions that may have been overlooked previously—adding new signs, erecting a mini-nut-free-island counter, crafting an entire vegan bar, and more.

The Bates experience, or so I want to believe, is something that all Batesies are supposed to enjoy. We have prided ourselves on being one of the first co-ed colleges in the nation, our founding by abolitionists, and our lack of Greek life of any sort. Like hell are we going to let some dietary restrictions prevent Batesies from making the most of their experience here. Bates is a place where you will be able to be yourself, live your life, and eat your food.