Fall 2020 Dining Information

Following best-practice professional guidance, Bates will move to a Dash (grab-n-go) dining program for Fall 2020. All food will either be self-service (non-contact dispensers) or available pre-packaged. Catering services have been suspended, and we will not be providing food service to faculty and staff. Dining will not be open to the non-Bates public.

Our service is changing, and Bates dining will look different, but our commitment to providing you the best quality food, service, and dining experience will never waver.


Thank you all for your patience and understanding as we navigate new menus and serving styles designed to efficiently and safely provide meals to everyone. Over the past two weeks we have reviewed our dining operations nonstop with an eye on improving support for both students and our dining staff.  From our review, changes will be implemented this Friday to further ensure physical distancing while entering dining facilities and to centralize operations, when appropriate, to ensure that we support the holistic health of the dining staff.

We know that many of you are used to having your evening meal around 6 p.m., but at Bates and during this pandemic, it is not sustainable for the bulk of our students to dine during the 6-7 p.m. hour. It leads to people clustering outside the dining facilities and, in many cases, not physically distancing. To avoid what could result in our requiring students to schedule their evening meal times, please note the following:

  • Dinner is served between 4:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. so choosing a time outside 6-7 p.m. would help alleviate the bottle neck.

  • Remember that there is an open Bobcat Break from 2:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., at which time you could stop in for a snack and eat a later dinner. 

  • Please observe physical distancing. Reminder signage will be placed outside the dining facilities. 

To provide the necessary support for dining staff, starting on Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, the dinner meal will be centralized and served from Commons. To streamline traffic and expedite service, the dining room will be reconfigured, adding an additional service line. This will allow dining staff the necessary time to rest, relax and refresh. 

We have received your napkin support and requests and you will soon see many of these implemented in the menu and operations. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to refine the dining program during this challenging time.

If you have any questions, please email Michelle Lewis at mlewis2@bates.edu.

Special Dietary Needs and Menu Questions

Students with special dietary needs, or who have questions about the menu should contact Cheryl Lacey, Director of Dining at clacey@bates.edu or 207-786-8355. In addition, the popular Napkin Board will move to a virtual wall.

How to be a Responsible Bobcat

  • Most important: Please be patient, kind and understanding. We are all in this together.
  • To be a prepared Bobcat, check the menu before dining.
  • Wear your face covering when entering Commons or the Gray Cage. Face coverings must be worn at all times when inside Commons or Gray Cage.
  • Please sanitize your hands when entering or leaving the Commons or Gray Cage building. For easy access, hand sanitizers have been installed throughout our dining facilities.
  • Maintain physical distance whenever possible and follow floor decals when queuing.
  • Observe and adhere to directional and capacity signage.
  • Do not bring re-usable containers into dining facilities.


We will continue to compost pre-consumer food waste (e.g., cold kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, etc.) and divert cardboard/tin/glass/plastic/pre-consumer paper from the waste stream.

The biggest change is that we will no longer be sending post-consumer food waste (i.e., unconsumed food) to the pig farmer.

We will not be opening the dish room this fall and have moved to single-use serviceware. We chose a line of single-use products that are made from 100% recycled paperboard.

While these products will not be diverted from the waste stream, we are doing our best to be good environmental stewards at the forefront. As you might imagine, this was a hard decision for us to make, considering that we have been a nationally recognized leader in sustainability since 2000,  but weighed against the safety of our employees, there was no other choice.