By GRAY WHITSETT – OPINIONS SECTION EDITOR
The close-knit environment of a small liberal arts school is something many students and faculty will point to in their explanation of an institution’s success. And indeed with 98 percent of Centre College students living in on-campus housing, the college community is structurally inclined to foster a cohesive residential atmosphere.
But this intimate living situation necessitates a number of things, among them an effective, efficient, and expedient dining experience. Centre has a long history of communal dining, from the Coffee Cup in what is now the Walnut House, to the Chowan cafeteria, to the barely old Campus Center which houses Cowan Dining Hall and the Everyday Café, not to mention the newly added Sandella’s Café in Sutcliffe Hall.
Administered by Sodexo, a French food services corporation headquartered in Paris, the company’s products are often lambasted by the students for being poorly prepared, unhealthy, and generally bad tasting.
“I once ate Taco Bell every meal for a week,” anti-Cowanite and senior Jayd Collins said. “I’m gluten intolerant so I did heavy permanent damage to my body, but for those seven days I was happy.”
While not everyone is quite as passionate as Collins, it is true that Centre food is always a topic of discussion for students. However, for the past few months students have been much more favorable toward the depressing trough that is Cowan.
“Sodexo must be doing some serious quality control lately,” junior and Michael Moore doppelganger Jeffrey Podis said. “I eat Cowan regularly to save money, but this semester I’ve actually been able to satisfy my basic nutritional needs without hating myself. It’s been wonderful.”
A recent report may have an explanation for the latest uptick in Cowan quality.
“We’re feeding the students human meat, plain and simple,” General Manager for Sodexo at Centre College Mike Nagorka said. With a last name that has only been spelled correctly five times in human history, Nagorka moved to Danville in 2011 and took over operations for the school.
“I’ve had about three years to strategize on how to assuage student concerns and I think I’ve finally found it: about 60-70 percent of our meat and meat-based products consist of discarded human tissue, limbs, hair, pretty much whatever we can get our hands on.”
Horribly and appropriately concerned at the prospect of consuming the remains of fellow human beings, some student groups protested.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how outraged we are at this news,” president of Centre Fair Foods Morgan Whitehead said. “Mike Ngoni or whatever his name is won’t be getting away with this.”
But Nagorka seemed unphased.
“Listen, we’ve tried to account for student concerns, and we’ve made genuine changes, but nothing satisfies you people,” Nagorka retorted. “The minute we add more traditional options, the vegetarian and vegan population gets angry, so we improve the salad and pasta lines, but then the gluten-intolerants get offended. There are only so many resources to go around and still have an affordable meal plan for students.
“But this ‘human solution’ is going to fix all of that. Think about it–customers who want more meat are going to get that at no extra cost and people with concerns about ethical treatment of animals will be fine. It’s not like we’re farming this stuff. Not to mention, humans are gluten free. Everybody wins!”
When pressed on how the company acquires the necessary ingredients, Nagorka had an uncomfortably quick response.
“We just go down to Ephraim McDowell, nursing homes, or a local factory with a pickup truck and grab what’s new from that day. You’d be surprised what all you can get: severed fingers, broken teeth, a lot of toe nails. I’m not sure why there’s so many of those but we get them by the pound. Then we grind all that down, mix it together, and add it when needed.”
A remarkably practical, if deeply disturbing, plan to improve quality while balancing costs, Nagorka beamed with pride. And despite a few isolated worries, the student population has been largely quiet.
“Look, do I like eating the remains of dead or injured people? Of course not,” Collins said. “But do I like having a full belly, a warm meal, and a positive outlook on life? You bet.”
Podis echoed Collins’s sentiment.
“I’ve always tried to honor my religion’s dietary guidelines, but Cowan has often made that difficult. However, as far as I know, Judaism doesn’t explicitly say eating human flesh is wrong. This has been a great way to improve my health, both physically and spiritually. That matters to me.”
And by and large, the campus seems to be as happy and productive as ever.
“We’ve had some decline their meal plans,” Nagorka said, “but we know they’ll be back. The vast wasteland of nutrition that is Danville, Kentucky always brings them back. The excess fat from a 45 year-old liposuction patient may seem abhorrent now, but after a few weeks of Wok-N-Go and Guadalajara either their wallets will run dry or their digestive tracks will literally shut down.
“By the time CentreTerm starts, we’ll be having four course meals–head, shoulders, knees, and toes.”
Editor’s Note: The previous article is from the CentOnion series, a satirical publication focused on parodying various subjects unique to Centre College’s campus.
As such, all content within this article is purely fictional and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Cento or Centre College.
In addition all quotations used in this article are purely fictional and do not necessarily reflect the views of the individuals quoted.