By Oliva Koravos
The soundtrack to Holmes Dining hall no longer consists of only chatter and forks scraping against plates. Instead, music chosen by FSU students can now be heard as well. One can choose their preferred background music through RockBot, an app available for Apple and Android users that lets guests request songs. This app is Holmes Dining Hall’s newest addition to its repertoire. It serves to allow establishments to choose the music and its guests, the songs. There are more than 16 million licensed songs available and they can be requested for free. There is also a visibility portion where guests can see what is playing next, as well as rate the songs.
The idea of having music in the dining hall was not a recent nor uncalculated one. Jeffrey McVoy, Director of Dining Services at Fitchburg State University, says that the dining program holds routine satisfaction surveys that look to improve the customer experience. Music in the dining hall has been requested by customers for a few years now. McVoy states that “This interactive music service is something that our company has been rolling out recently across many of our campus dining locations, and we felt this was a great opportunity to bring something to Fitchburg State that students had been asking for.”
Although it has only been a few weeks since this was initiated, students already have opinions that are fairly neutral. There is a balance between like and dislike. “I like it every now and then, but it all truly depends on what’s playing,” says Josh Madison, a sophomore at FSU. With a similar view is senior Kelsey Martin: “I’m pretty indifferent to it” she says, “Sometimes I want to hear it but sometimes I don’t.” It makes sense that there are mixed reviews present. There are certain genres of music and songs in particular that people do not like, and some that people do. When a song comes on at the dining hall now, students do not have much of a choice in regards to whether or not they want to listen to it. If they happen to enjoy the songs, that’s great, but if they don’t, it can be a bit of an annoyance.
According to McVoy, interaction through the app has surged lately, though, which is a good sign for what’s been implemented. Whether or not this trend will continue, only time can tell as the semester progresses.