The BuzzWord On The Street

The Season of Lent – We Meat Again At Cosgrove Cafeteria

Above: Students line up in Cosgrove Cafeteria. Original photo courtesy of Evie Breitbach with overlay added by Hannah Knowles.

St. Ambrose students have just returned from Easter Break 2024. The season of Lent, and its accompanying cafeteria alterations, are now over and some students say they’ll be glad to have the regular menu back.

St. Ambrose senior Lexi Huntley grows hungrier by the minute. She hasn’t eaten all day and is fighting the lunch-hour traffic to drive from work to campus and quickly eat lunch before her next class in only 45 minutes. She finally arrives at the cafeteria (Caf) only to find there are no suitable meat or protein options. At first confused, she then remembers that it is Friday during the season of Lent. 

“I find it very frustrating when I come into the Caf and don’t have any meat options because I’m an athlete and really need my protein,” she says. “It’s inconvenient and time consuming for me to go home between work and class to eat lunch.”

During the season of Lent at St. Ambrose University, the cafeteria alters its menu to reflect the Catholic tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays. They offer main dishes with fish and a small selection of deli meats in the salad bar. Are these offerings too restrictive for students who are not Catholic or don’t adhere to Lent? The Buzz sought the opinion of Caf-goers.

Senior Kayla Devine agrees, and says she avoids the Caf on Fridays because she doesn’t like the smell of fish. She also notes that “we have a lot of gym rats here who are constantly bulking” and says it’s an inconvenience for them. She says she understands the sentiment but is not Catholic herself and would like some more options, especially since Lent is 40 days long so it affects five Fridays.

“For me personally, on Fridays, I just eat a lot of peanut butter,” says junior swimmer Ben Patterson. Ben is Catholic and adheres to Lent and thinks that since SAU is a Catholic university, students should expect the Caf to follow Catholic traditions. Lent falls in the midst of swimming season when Ben prioritizes protein more, but he still gets his protein in with protein shakes and chocolate milk.

Senior softball player Anne Krull also adheres to Lent and likes that the Caf honors this tradition, but says that “students of all religions go here…if you don’t do Lent you should be able to eat meat.” As a Catholic, Anne says she would not be offended if there were one or two meat offerings in the caf on Fridays.

“I get it, I understand why they do it,” says senior Ryan Schiestel who tries to adhere to Lent, but does understand that other students may need and want meat. He offers an alternative, “Rogo still does meat, so maybe on Fridays they could allow meal swipes there.”

SAU students are saying, “to each their own,” when it comes to abiding by the Lent tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays. While there are some alternatives on campus that students could utilize to maintain their protein intake, students say adding a couple more meat options in the Caf is something they would support.

Hannah Knowles is a staff writer for The Buzz.