By Rachel Pfeiffer | Contributor
With a new academic year under way, the Dining Commons' administration and staff are looking for new ways to enhance the Taylor dining experience.
Although many improvements were made to the dining options last year with the opening of the Campus Center, Director of Dining Services Matt Riley explained that their goal this year is to find small ways to improve dining options and address some of the concerns students have brought to the Dining Services' attention.
A few of the specific enhancements Riley mentioned included changes to the dinner hours, more special or themed dishes, the possible addition of a new healthy dining trend and possibly bringing back the panini press for student use.
Riley explained the changes to dinner hours: "A handful of students would come at 5:00 because that was the time we opened, but most students didn't start arriving until about 5:30."
With this pattern in mind, Dining Services decided to push dinner back half an hour in order to better accommodate the schedules of student athletes and student workers.
For Sammi Lawson, a senior on the soccer team, knowing she doesn't have to run to dinner when practice is over is nice. "I think the change is beneficial to athletes because although practices end around six, you still have to allow time for showering, getting dressed and getting treatment if you're injured," Lawson said.
However, other students who have activities later in the evening find the new dining hours cumbersome. Sophomore Olivia Miller is involved with the Basics ministry that begins at 6 p.m. "When activities start at 6, dinner at 5:30 is much more difficult."
Along with the time adjustments, the Dining Commons (DC) plans to implement changes to the their menu. The DC will strive to include more special or themed dishes, either at a particular station or across the entire DC, two to three times a month. "For us, it represents opportunities to do something different that you aren't used to every day," Riley said.
The goal of these dishes is a change of pace for students, helping prevent the boredom that can come with seeing the same stations every day.
Riley also explained that the Dining Commons might begin serving a dish or two that represents the new "veg-centric" meal trend. This trend strives to make vegetables the center of the meal, as opposed to meat or another main dish. Depending on its popularity, "veg-centric" dishes could be featured at the Interaction Station in the DC.
Riley hopes that these enhancements, though small, will have a positive effect on the dining experience at Taylor.