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Upper: a clash of normalcy and confusion

To many Brandeisians, Upper Usdan appears to have a new and updated look which comes with a new function—countertop ordering. But to many, if not all, seniors this is a return to the Upper we once knew as young and spry first-years. The removal of the kindergarten-style cubbies which prevented students from ordering from the counters brings us back to a pre-pandemic era when Brandeis dining was unparalleled in Waltham. The only issue with the resumption of services at Upper is the confusion which has seemed to infect all classes of students. Some of the major questions which have been making waves throughout the student body have been: can you still order online? How do you order at the counter? And has the food changed since the Upper redesign? Fortunately for Brandeis, the community newspaper is here to answer these questions! 

Going in sequential order, yes, you can still order online. The Starship app has not changed its operation or style since last semester. So for students in a rush between classes or those who simply are not in the mood to order from a real life person, the app is still your best option. But with no border wall of cubbies blocking you from the counters behind, some may be wondering where to physically pick up their order from Upper. Fortunately, some of those cubbies have been preserved and moved to the corner of the room behind the soda fountain. While the cubbies no longer are divided between food options at Upper; all of your orders can be found there. While it may not initially appear like you can order on the app by simply peeking into Upper, you can in fact still order from Starship using both meal swipes and points. 

But in case your app is glitching, or even if you just want to re-engage with life as it was before the pandemic ever occurred, you can order in person. To do so you have to learn how to manage the paper slip system. Now, seniors may remember ordering on iPads, but, for better or for worse, that option has been removed from Upper and we are all relegated to using the slip system. Each counter has a slightly different slip, but for the most part they each follow the same format. You circle the food options you are interested in—the carb option, protein, toppings and occasionally a side based on if you are paying with meal swipes or points. But the real joy of ordering with a slip is that you get to watch them make your meal right in front of you! All the luxury—and customization—of a Subway on Brandeis’ campus. 

But when it comes to the quality of the food between semesters, there exist some changes. The primary culprit of these changes happens to be La Sabrosa this semester. The burrito tortilla has been reduced in size and quality. Last semester there was clearly a larger burrito which gave students more bang for their dining dollar, whereas this semester the tortilla has been smaller and of a lesser quality. The new tortillas crack easily and have a stale texture to them rather than a soft feel as they did in the past. But as for steps in the right direction from La Sabrosa, their nachos are being served in the larger to-go boxes. Upper has had a few changes this semester, but for anyone experiencing confusion or anxiety when looking in, hopefully we have answered your most frequently pondered questions.

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