Dining options and venues on campus have seen a number of improvements over the 2014-15 school year, and more upgrades are scheduled to be finished by the time students return in the fall.
“We have done a lot of great things in response to student feedback and are planning even more enhancements to our facilities this summer,” says Stephen Schafer, associate vice president of finance and business affairs. “We are also looking at the possibility of developing a mobile app where users can see locations, hours, menus, events, and provide feedback to improve our ability to interact with the campus community.”
Both Lower and Upper Café were renovated this past year, bringing changes to the seating capacities and station enhancements. “The main goal for these locations was to create better flow and to offer different concepts in each location for variety,” says Sarah Fried, general manager of dining services.
Lower Farinon Commons’s seating area was completely renovated to provide more seating, TVs, and audio visual capabilities for a more café-like atmosphere. The serving areas now include a sushi station and a kiosk/touch screen ordering system. Hours of operation were expanded, as were its “grab n go” options.
Over winter break, Upper Farinon Dining Hall (Drake Dining Room) received aesthetic upgrades as well as additional seating, bar-style seating overlooking the Quad, and a new Taqueria concept.
Beginning at the end of May, Marquis Café and the Faculty Dining Room will undergo a major renovation. The mobile food stations in Marquis will be replaced with permanent structures to improve the flow between the serving and seating areas. The seating configuration will be adjusted to increase capacity and wooden tables and chairs will be used. A creperie will be added, and the bathrooms will be relocated closer to the seating area on the first floor.
The Faculty Dining Room will be updated with new furniture that will include “soft seating” near the fireplace as well as new china and glassware. In addition, meals will include a family-style salad and carafes of water and iced tea at each table.
Also starting in the fall, Gilbert’s Café and Lower Farinon Commons will adopt a more streamlined menu accompanied by additional Grab ‘N Go options to increase speed of service and provide a better checkout experience during peak hours. A change in hours of operations may also be on the horizon for fall semester in response to student feedback.
Dining Services’ efforts toward maintaining a sustainable campus have continued as well. This is now the third year it has worked with the College’s LaFarm food loop project. The student-run initiative composts food scraps from Lafayette’s dining halls. The compost is used to fertilize crops grown in the garden, which are in turn served in the dining halls. Dining Services creates menus based on local growing seasons to take advantage of fresh produce.