1038998752Although thousands of students have spent thousands of dollars on meal plans for Leo O’Donovan Hall, the Georgetown dining service has taken to charging patrons of the beleaguered dining hall a new currency: Facebook “likes.”

Last week, the Georgetown Dining Facebook page’s fan count climbed to 1,000. As a reward for reaching this milestone, the dining service promised students on meal plans a surf ‘n’ turf dinner to be offered in April. This social media campaign was the latest in a series of marketing strategies employed by Georgetown Dining, which has made a concerted effort this year to engage students on Facebook and Twitter.

Although these efforts are intended to prove that Georgetown’s auxiliary services and parent companyAramark are working to address student complaints, they instead come across as PR maneuvers that distract from the glaring operational inefficiencies.

While themed lunches might add some intrigue to the dining experience on a given weekday, bottlenecks at the GOCard swiping stations and upstairs food service lines continue to be an inconvenience that drive many students to settle for self-serve stations and pizza lines downstairs or avoid the dining hall altogether. Finding seating at peak hours is nearly impossible, as is finding decently prepared food during off-hours.

Georgetown Dining would do a better job responding to students by instituting operational changes that would alleviate inconveniences, rather than prioritizing a social media presence that only superficially alters its perception on campus. And when students have already spent thousands on meal plans, it’s inappropriate to demand something like Facebook support to correct service shortcomings.

Students understand the hard work of Leo’s employees and the restraints on a college dining hall. With this understanding come tempered expectations for food options. Yet despite its marketing efforts, Leo’s has so far failed to meet baseline expectations for college dining: quick, efficient service, comfortable seating options and a variety of available, edible foods at all times of the day.

Leo’s may have gotten more fans on Facebook with this one-night gimmick, but without taking its deficiencies more seriously, the dining hall will continue to get poor reviews from its patrons.

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