New school year brings new campus dining options

The start of the school year is bringing new twists to college dining around the country
By: | August 30, 2019
Elon University and its chef host five-course, farm-to-table dinner each month on campus. A small group of students is invited to enjoy a tasting menu.Elon University and its chef host five-course, farm-to-table dinner each month on campus. A small group of students is invited to enjoy a tasting menu.

The start of the school year is bringing new twists to college dining around the country, with higher ed institutions cooking up new services and meals to keep students happy and healthy.

After 20 years of partnering with a food service provider, Ithaca College in New York has launched its own dining service. Working with nearby Cornell College, which also developed its own program, the new service offers more healthy selections, including an expanded vegan menu, according to The Ithacan. The institution also has increased the number of local dining establishments that now have locations on campus. 

Boston College is also expanding its healthy offerings, including a new market that sells fresh produce and groceries. To promote variety, the space also features a pop-up kitchen with a menu that will change based on student recommendations; for example, the first concept offered is poke, a Hawaiian fish meal, The Heights reports.   


Read more: How to spice up campus with special dining events


At Saint Mary’s in Indiana, a former cyber cafe has been replaced by a grill that also serves healthy dishes, including salads and fish tacos. The institution will also focus on creating more authentic cuisine rather than Americanized versions, according to The Observer.

Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College (ABAC) in Georgia has opened a dining hall in partnership with Georgia Grown that exclusively features state-raised products and ingredients. “We are an agriculture institution. A large portion of our students come from rural parts of the state, many actually come from agriculture backgrounds. As we thought about it we said, ‘If we can’t promote eating Georgia Grown, then who can?’” ABAC President David Bridges told WALB News 10.


Read more: 6 keys to getting students to eat more meals at dining halls


Campuses continue to spice up dining in order to bring students to the table, including holding special dining events, UB reported earlier this year. Cooking competitions and appearances by celebrity chefs are among the breaks from the normal dining routine that can help generate student interest in campus meal programs.

“It’s not that students get bored with everyday menus, but these are things that are totally new and that they didn’t expect,” Casey Claflin, the guest experiences manager with Harvest Table Culinary Group, the dining provider at Elon University in North Carolina, told UB