Widgets Magazine


Op-Ed: A Memory of Suites

I’m a Stanford alum, class of 1987. Our daughter is a freshman at the Farm, living in Serra House in Stern.

My wife just came back from Stanford yesterday after visiting for Parents’ Weekend. She told me some shocking news: the eating clubs at Suites, as we knew them, are going away.

I lived in Stern freshman year (1983) and drew low in the spring, landing a six-person suite in Jenkins with my freshman pals. We ate at Middle Earth and enjoyed it so much that by the time we were seniors, each of us was managing one of the clubs with a fifth roommate holding the CEO hat. At that time, each club had a manager and a CFO, with one student CEO overseeing all four clubs. I was fortunate enough to manage Middle Earth, which was always my favorite club!

It sounds like much of what I loved about the eating clubs has remained unchanged over the years. We had the absolute best food on campus, total autonomy as to how we ran the clubs and off-campus students clambering to sign up for a food plan in any of the four clubs. On top of it all, our meal plan was less expensive than standard University food service, our hashers were well paid, we could nibble any time day or night and our chefs were, bar none, the best.

My chef, Walter Wormer, and I collaborated on weekly menus and treasured the quarterly “special dinners” that were the highlight of the quarter and very elaborate, including fantastic food and entertainment. Every Friday, Walter made his homemade recipe of chocolate chip cookies, which were so popular that we had to control the distribution, lest a crazed Beefeater or Bollardite try to purloin a cookie or two.

Gelato Classico had just opened up in Palo Alto and once a week, Walter and I would drive over and buy two large containers of gelato as a special treat for the Middle Earthers. I also fondly remember Sunday morning breakfasts, cooked by a student chef, complete with coffee cake and made-to-order pancakes or omelets. All this while passing every health inspector’s inspection with flying colors. Never forget to send the can opener through the Hobart machine!

I want to thank Miles Unterreiner for his thorough, well-researched and well-written articles. After reading them, it’s hard not to connect the dots and come up with a scandal. It seems like there is no logical, justifiable business reason for Residential Education to take over the running of the eating clubs and dole out a contract to Student Organized Services.

I hope that the articles expose enough light for someone higher up to put a stop to it, but I’ve seen these types of things happen in the business world against all better judgment, so I will remain pessimistic at this point. As I hit the send button, I’m at least reminded of my time as manager of Middle Earth and the lingering smell of warm chocolate chip cookies…

Mark Weierich ‘87