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Articles: Dining Halls

Digital signage has existed on campuses in some form for decades. Originally, it was standard television sets embedded in the wall with a slow crawl of text showing campus news. Now, high-quality flatscreens display live TV, text, and information tickers all at the same time.

Rich in natural light, the building aims to help students be inspired by the school's mission, encouraging them to remember the need for accountability and transparency in international service.

Start with an understanding of campus culture, stir in a strong sense of community, blend in a brand new dining facility and dining program, season with an educational component, and simmer for a sensory delight that will satisfy the hardiest appetite.

Trine University (Ind.)

Made-from-scratch recipes help Trine's dining services to minimize its carbon imprint.

Total full-time enrollment: 1,328

Institution type: Four-year private

Each of our 65 entries was evaluated, using a point system for each response, by at least four members of the University Business team and one external judge, with similar-sized institutions grouped together.

Questions covered:

(1) the extent to which the facility and program uniquely reflect the institution

(2) the comfort and safety levels of diners

(3) sustainability initiatives

(4) the process of getting input from program users and how requests are prioritized

1. A variety of table sizes and styles?from bar stools to tables fit for a team and everything in between.

2. Comfortable seating?perhaps choosing sprung-back chairs, as the College of the Ozarks (Mo.) did.

3. Detached food stations?to avoid long lines building up.

4. Exhibition-style cooking?both entertaining and an excellent chance to get students and chefs talking.

5. Multiple checkout areas?to give diners the chance to enjoy their meals as quickly as possible.

6. Noise control?carpeting, room dividers, and separate quiet areas do the trick.

1. Personalized d?cor?featuring a campus mural, as at Georgetown University (D.C.), or student artwork, as at Winthrop University (S.C.), the University of Southern California and Norwich University (Vt.). Georgetown’s mural includes university founder John Carroll, a classroom scene, university sports, D.C. memorials overlooking the Potomac River, a graduation scene, and the university seal. At USC, a selection of student art gets rotated so there is always something fresh for diners to look at. Norwich’s hall features historic artwork and photos.

DINING FACILITIES AND PROGRAMS ARE an integral part of campus life. Long gone are cafeteria-style dining areas with cafeteria-quality food. Today’s students can savor a dining experience that rivals the best home cooking and their favorite restaurants?and college and university dining services departments are delivering just that. Program administrators realize that customer service and diner input are key. And they know that both environmental sustainability and financial stability are expected.

Self-Operated Program Winner:

Culinary staff are never far from students who have a concern or want to pay compliments to the chef.

Bates College (Maine)

Total full-time enrollment: 1,776

Institution type: Four-year private

Large Private Institution Winner:

Counter seating is an option for students dining alone or those who want to be close to culinary action.

Boston University

Total full-time enrollment: 16,070 Undergraduate Students, 8,709 Graduate Students

Public Institution Winner:

Virginia Commonwealth University

Total full-time enrollment: 27,000

Institution type: Four-year public

Total number of campus dining facilities (includes any facility serving food; please explain). 23 - 1 residential, 2 c-stores, 20 retail locations including Chili's, Subway, Quiznos and McDonald's

Number of full-service dining facilities (serving three meals a day): 1

Square footage of each main dining facility: 28,500

Small/Medium Institution Winner:

Strategic placement of food and beverage stations and a roomy servery keep things moving.

Bucknell University (Pa.)

Total full-time enrollment: 3,700

Institution type: Four-year private

Every six months, Babson dining staff go through a training that teachers them how to "wow" their guests.

Babson College (Mass.)

Total full-time enrollment: 1,851

Institution type: Four-year private

Elon University (N.C.)

Brown & Co. is another campus dining option for Elon students.

Total full-time enrollment: 5,628

Institution type: Four-year private

Total number of campus dining facilities (includes any facility serving food; please explain): 12

Gettysburg College (Pa.)

Managers can regularly be found sitting in the student dining area at Gettysburg to solicit comments.

Total full-time enrollment: 2,600

Institution type: Four-year private

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