Ah, InFusion. We miss it, we love it. The crowning jewel of Shackleton. In spite of our nostalgic adoration though, there are cons as well as pros to UoB’s dining hall, and it’s a good idea to get to know them as this’ll be your prime eating spot for your whole first year.
1. Con- Not too cool for school quite yet
First day of uni and you might think, I am an adult. I am not a school kid anymore. That is, until you get directed to the plastic trays, and the place where you line up to get your food dolled out to you from cafeteria staff. Ok, so the food does in many ways taste better than the stuff you get from the school dining hall, but the whole main- veg- chips rota does kinda give you primary vibes.
2. Pro- You bump in to everybody there
InFusion is the main place to eat if you’re a first year on “Meal Plan”, and as accomodation is ordered in terms of whether you are catered or non-catered, chances are you are going to see everyone you know at meal times. This is really nice, especially in the first few weeks when you’re still settling in, the fact that the main hub of your uni life is full of friendly faces is definitely a bonus. It’s really great after the settling in period too, because once you’ve made your friends, more often than not you’ll bump into them in the dining hall for a catch-up.
3. Con- You bump into everybody there
There is a downside to your dining hall being a one stop socialising spot, and that is that it is nigh on impossible to avoid someone. You’re bound to have fall outs in first year. You’re living with these people 24/7 for goodness sake, and you have just all been thrown together. When these inevitable moments of discord come around, meal times can be excruciating, because a lot of the time you will find yourself eating opposite someone involved. Yikes.
4.Pro- Proximity to the Duck
Once you’ve made up though, you won’t have to go far for a celebratory drink. The Vale’s resident student bar, “The Duck and Scholar”, is in the same building as InFusion, just down the corridor. With Sky Sports, drinks deals all week long and a food hatch that does Mexican style food, it’s just the kind of bar you would want attached to your uni’s dining hall.
5. Pro- Close to Costcutter
You’ve also got a handy “Costcutter” corner shop directly next to the InFusion dining hall, from which you can grab toilet roll and milk on your way home, not to mention essentials like snacks, ice cream and alcohol.
6. Con- The limitations of Meal Plan
At The University of Birmingham, if you choose to be catered for your first year, your Uni ID card gets connected to the Meal Plan system, which gives you access to £55 a week to spend at the Uni’s catering spots. Though great, because you can spend meal plan anywhere on campus, even in Costas and Starbucks, people often grumble about the fact that if you’ve got any money left, it doesn’t roll over to the next week. When it comes to InFusion though, you quickly realise that the problem is lack of funds. InFusion prices are like your average cafe prices, and £55 a week for three meals a day at that cost doesn’t really stretch.
6. Pro- Close to lots of other dining options
One of the great things about InFusion is its central location. If you walk into dinner and find it’s too busy, (especially if you’ve come with your whole flat and you’re in a big group), you won’t have to go far to find another place to eat. Not only is there the aforementioned food hatch in The Duck, but there’s a cafe come pizza takeaway right next door, as well as the slightly more expensive but totally delicious “JCs” restaurant in the central Chamberlain Tower nearby.