You’ve seen the chaos of lower Usdan during lunch, but professors do not subject themselves to that experience—they dine at the Brandeis Faculty Club, which I can now confirm has no bucket to collect the water drops falling from the ceiling. With the semester wrapping up, Sodexo’s contract with Brandeis ending (and therefore my job working for Sodexo as a chalkboard artist/marketing intern), I had the opportunity to eat at the Faculty Club.
I can only describe the outside of the Faculty Club as a mix between a modern loft house and a villain’s secret hideout. Like all aspects of Brandeis architecture, the outside is a confusing visual experience and one that I do not have the ability to properly explain. It has a funky design that looks as if I could definitely assemble it myself from only pieces at IKEA. I highly recommend walking by the building if you have the time, perhaps on your way to enjoy a Sherman lunch.
After careful deliberation of the building’s outside, I walked up the stairs to the entrance—up until this point, a typical Brandeis experience—and then went inside the building. Brandeis undergraduates are typically not allowed to eat at the faculty club, so I am grateful for the opportunity to do so.
Upon entering the building, there is a waiting area with a few chairs. To the left, you will find a private dining area (I presume for lunch meetings), and to the right, you will find the main dining area. Nobody asked to see my passport, and I did not have to use a meal swipe. The Faculty Club serves the food buffet style, and almost everything I saw is what I encounter when eating at either Usdan or Sherman. However, and most very notably, the Faculty Club does have egg salad—and as someone who usually assembles egg salad from the ingredients available in the dining hall—I was very impressed. No more getting cold egg slices from the salad bar and mixing it with mayonnaise and salt and pepper! At the Faculty Club, they make the egg salad for you.
Though the Faculty Club may not have the same variety as your average Brandeis dining hall, it makes up for it by having rare ingredients that rarely come by. Also noteworthy is the fruit selection. I found apples, purple grapes, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, and watermelon. Very impressive and a nice distraction from the usual green and orange melon of the dining hall. The buffet had a salad bar, a soup section, and a selection of food I have definitely seen before in the simple servings area in Usdan.
After assembling a plate of food (mashed potatoes, chickpeas, broccoli, fruit, egg salad and pita chips), I headed to the seating area. It is unlike any dining experience an undergraduate will have on campus. The dining area overlooks the Lights of Reason and with all of the spring foliage surrounding it, I felt as if I was at a true scenic dining experience. All of the tables had white tablecloths, blue cloth napkins, and wine glasses. (I had water, and I was also informed that professors are able to have wine or beer upon request). I felt so pampered eating on Brandeis campus while not drinking out of a plastic cup (and the water came with ice cubes! No worrying about accidentally getting a mix of water and blue Powerade in your cup either. Someone will fill up your glass for you as if you were at a real restaurant). The cutlery and plates and bowls were also different. The fork and knife were much sleeker in design, and interestingly enough, the plates were much larger, and the bowls were much smaller than in the undergraduate dining halls. Baffling.
Overall, dining at the Brandeis Faculty Club was a novelty experience. Imagine getting a green container from Sherman, filling it up with food, going to a fancy restaurant, and eating the food there. The food is no different to what students eat, and so rest assured, that when you go to a lecture after lunch, your professor will likely have eaten the exact same food as you that day. Would I go again for the cloth napkins and fruit variety, though? Most definitely.
Bonus points for seeing one of my professors at lunch two tables away from me.