The plight of Pierson College students tired of having heavy cream in their mouths and too busy to hike across campus for a healthy, frozen dessert selection has become a matter for Columbo.

A proposal spearheaded by Pierson Master Harvey Goldblatt has led to the installation of a new Columbo frozen yogurt machine in his college’s dining hall over spring break. Previously an amenity confined to Commons and select residential college dining halls, the dispenser, which the college purchased with its college council budget, has so far been well received by all.

“The frozen yogurt machine is pretty much hassle-free since it’s just pulling a lever,” said Pierson student Luis Medina ’04, “and they basically keep it loaded all the time.”

Most residential colleges do not have frozen yogurt dispensers because they do not have the space and energy capabilities to support them, said Bob Junghandel, director of operations for Yale Dining Services.

“Frankly, most colleges are tapped out,” he said.

As colleges are undergoing renovations, dining halls, including Branford, Saybrook and eventually Timothy Dwight, are being expanded so they can house Columbo yogurt dispensers, Junghandel said.

But Jonathan Edwards College students got a surprise soft-serve treat last year when their dining hall, although not recently renovated, gained yogurt capabilities.

Frozen yogurt has particular health benefits students and dining services administrators alike have appreciated.

Karen Dougherty, the executive dietician for Yale Dining Services, said frozen yogurt generally has less sugar and more nutrients than hard ice cream, which is fattier and sweeter.

“More sugar displaces the natural dairy in ice cream,” she said, “so ounce for ounce, frozen yogurt is better for you.”

Dougherty lamented the high butter fat levels in popular brands of ice cream like Haagen Dazs, but said she understands how that frozen goodie might be alluring for students.

“Ice cream is richer and creamier, so it has a better mouth-feel,” she said, “and some people find that more pleasing tastebud-wise.”

But dessert remains a matter of personal preference in Pierson, and students are free to experiment with the variety of existing options. Pierson students are enthusiastic about their new dessert, lauding frozen yogurt for general tastiness and the machine for its ease of operation.

Some said they enjoy the new machine because it is a less labor-intensive alternative to scooping ice cream from a cooler.

“It’s healthier than ice cream and easier to get because with soft serve you don’t have to chisel it out of the tub,” Yana Hoy ’04 said.

The ease of frozen yogurt, in addition to its health benefits, has provoked a gentle roar of excitement about the frozen treat.

“I was pretty lukewarm to the idea at first,” said Amy Grove ’04, who averages one cone from the machine each day, “but it’s a good alternative to ice cream so now I think it’s pretty cool.”

Pierson students expressed disappointment, though, that the yogurt dispenser has only featured two flavors so far — chocolate and vanilla — and hope for a little more spice in their dessert options. Nevertheless, despite the not-spectacular selection, most are still delighting in the novelty of frozen yogurt.

“It’s an immediate pleasure,” Julia Tierney ’02 said. “It’s yummy. It’s good, and it’s these kinds of daily improvements that make a big difference.”

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