A New Season of Freshness at the Dining Hall

By Brooke Schultz
News Editor
From opening times, to silverware, to food options, the dining hall is looking at changes for the new semester.
“It’s a big difference, especially for returning students coming back,” Don Stanwick, director of dining services, said.
As the dining hall opens for the new academic year, the dining hall staff has made alterations to almost every aspect of Hodson.
What Stanwick calls “one of the biggest changes” is the fact that all dining locations, including the main dining hall, Martha’s, Create, and both café locations, will accept payment via credit card.
“No more having to go to an ATM and get cash or something like that. We figured that will make it a little more convenient for people,” Stanwick said.

New Bowls
The new and improved salad bowls on display in Hodson.

The dining hall’s hours have also been changed in order to accommodate students who wish to eat earlier in the morning. On weekdays, the dining hall will open at 7 rather than the previous 7:30 a.m. and on weekends it will open at 10 instead of 10:30 a.m.
The closing times will not be affected except for weekend brunch, which will close at 2 instead of 1:30 p.m.
“You can sleep a little bit later and still get brunch,” Stanwick said.
Sophie’s Café will now close at 11 p.m. instead of midnight. “We didn’t find a lot of business during that last hour…. It helps our staff get out a little earlier. It’s a little bit safer for them.”
Even minor details have been changed. Plates, bowls, coffee mugs, tumblers, and silverware have all been updated for this year.
“We’ve had a lot of good feedback on that,” Stanwick said. “People like the big bowls. People complained last year that every time you mixed your salad, it would go all over the table.”
Stanwick actually ordered the bowls a size bigger than he initially wanted, but he said that this has actually worked out because the bowls can hold enough for guests to make salad the main component of their meal.
“A lot of people liked the colors of the Fiestaware, which is why the salad bowls have the color, the coffee mugs have the color, the tumblers have the color, just to keep that instead of making everything plain,” Stanwick said.
The old colored plates have disappeared from the lines and have been replaced by white square plates. Stanwick said that the plates are actually about a half of a square inch larger than the circular plates, giving a larger surface area for students’ meals. They’re also much more cost effective; previously, dining services has spent about $10-15,000 on replacing broken dishes. The old Fiestaware will be available for students living in apartments to purchase in a sale sometime next week.
The new plates are lighter and more manageable not only for customers, but the dirty dish conveyer belt.
The new tumblers have an added benefit; they’re larger by an ounce and sturdier.
The silverware has been updated as well.  Stanwick said, “We’ve upgraded the silverware to be real silverware and not, you know, really cheap stuff that can bend if you breathe on it long.”
As an environmental touch, the dining hall worked with Student Environmental Alliance on supplying each student with their own reusable to-go container.
Aside from just dishware, My Pantry is changing. Stanwick said, “The pantry is going back to the way it was last fall where it will have meat options, its not going to be only vegan and vegetarian options. That’s nothing against the vegan and vegetarian population; it’s something we tried last spring and we found that vegans and vegetarians loved the options, however, it also made a lot longer lines in some of the other areas. We are still going to make it a priority to offer one vegan entree and one vegetarian entree on the lines.”
The back counter behind the pizza area is going to be allergen-friendly for people who are allergic to peanuts, tree-nuts, dairy, soy, glutton, and shellfish. The students will have entrée and side-dish options.
Stanwick is  trying to involve the students more in the dining hall by including student and campus-focused images. He said, “We want our students to be involved in the pictures. We want the students to see this as their dining hall.”

Additional reporting by Catalina Righter, editor-in-chief.

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