What’s new in campus dining

From teatime to cricket snacks, and robotic delivery to sustainable silverware, the new academic year brings students more dining options
By: | September 27, 2019
Tea time—Afternoon tea service at Princeton University Library launched this year, for $15 per person and by reservation only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Photo: Shelley Szwast, Princeton University LibraryTea time—Afternoon tea service at Princeton University Library launched this year, for $15 per person and by reservation only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Photo: Shelley Szwast, Princeton University Library

In this age of Uber Eats and other food delivery services, getting what you want, when you want it, has become the norm. So not surprisingly, college and university dining services departments are continually working to refresh offerings and venues. Here’s a look at a few campus dining updates for the 2019-20 academic year.

Afternoon tea

Princeton students can add a formal treat break to their study time by making a reservation for afternoon teatime at the library’s new Tiger Tea Room. The service is available to students, faculty and staff, with outside guests allowed, twice a week. The tearoom, open on weekdays, also has walk-in service for tea, coffee and hot chocolate as well as pastries and other items.

Cricket study breaks

Last year’s “Bug Feast” hosted by UConn Dining Services (which offered multiple courses featuring an insect as an ingredient) and a 2015 food truck that offered crickets as an optional taco topping had students buzzing. Now they can pick up a vial of roasted crickets in a variety of flavor choices at any time. The snack is available at the Union Central Exchange Convenience Store within the student union building.

Robotic delivery

As UB reported early this year in a report on campus dining conveniences, suitcase-size robots are emerging on campuses, using GPS, cameras and mapping to help transport food orders. Purdue is the latest university—and the first Big Ten school—to implement the technology, with more than 30 robots delivering food from six on-campus dining establishments. The robots, from Starship Technologies, drive on their own most of the time, but a human can quickly log in and take control if necessary.

Pop-ups and other events

New York University launched NYU Eats to mark the official launch of NYU dining services with the provider Chartwells. New events include complimentary food pop-ups, cooking instruction around rotating themes, demonstrations aimed at enhancing sustainability knowledge, and Superfood Tuesdays focused on plant-forward concepts, including recipes and tastings.


From UB: How to spice up campus with special dining events


Reusable utensils and plates

University of Oregon switched to reusable plates, bowls and silverware at all residential campus dining locations—helping to make about 15,000 meals a day greener. Diners can take dishware back to their rooms or elsewhere on campus, as long as they return to a campus dining location. While that’s on an honor system, officials are betting students will do their part for sustainability’s sake. Per a new ordinance in Eugene, disposable plastic items such as straws and utensils are only to be provided upon request.

A “real” restaurant

Students and faculty at UC San Diego are enjoying Soda & Swine eatery and bar, which opened its third location at the old student center building. Soda & Swine is one of the few on-campus venues to serve alcohol. The 14,000-square-foot restaurant, reports the San Diego version of Eater, features a 25-foot curved copper-faced craft cocktail bar and an exterior 30-foot communal whitewash cedar fire table.


Resource: Best Dining Halls list compiled by Business Insider


Melissa Ezarik is senior managing editor of UB.