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Students use the self-serve station in the Hill dining hall on April 20, 2019.

Credit: Annie Luo

Self-serve stations have returned to Penn Dining, and students now have expanded options for their meal swipes.

In an email sent to students on Feb. 18, Penn Dining announced that it will now allow students to serve themselves at various stations in each dining cafe for the first time since removing self-serve options due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students are now able to do a number of things including creating their own salads and pouring their own bowls of soup. 

In an email sent to The Daily Pennsylvanian on Feb. 20, Director of Hospitality Services Pam Lampitt said that the move back to self-service marks a return to pre-pandemic dining operations.

"The easing of this restriction is exciting as it allows our diners, most of whom have only experienced dining under COVID protocols, more customization in their meal choices,” Lampitt wrote. 

Other changes to dining this semester include an increase in meal swipe options as well as a change in how dining works at Quaker Kitchen. 

Penn Dining announced in an email sent Feb. 15 that there are now expanded meal exchange options at Houston Market — which includes La Plancha, Houston Market Grill, 34th Street Carvery, Penn Pi, and The Market Café — Joe's Café, and Accenture Café.

Quaker Kitchen, Penn's newest dining hall located in New College House West, was previously only open to students who made a reservation for dinner. However, there is now a walk-in dining option at Quaker Kitchen for the first hour of service from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on a first come, first serve basis. 

Penn Dining initially removed self-serve stations in the fall 2020 semester, when indoor dining was not permitted and only pre-packaged meals were available.

The spring 2022 semester also began with Penn Dining suspending indoor dining in light of the COVID-19 surge and Omicron variant, instead operating with a “takeout” system that stayed in place until classes began in-person two weeks later.