Dining Services Expands Offerings for Spring 2023

Coming off a fall semester fraught with staff and supply shortages, Colgate University Dining Services introduced updated offerings at each of its four campus locations earlier this month.

Changes include the expansion of weekend buffets at the O’Connor Campus Center (Coop), new and revamped food stations at Frank Dining Hall and the closure of some serving stations within certain time periods. Chobani at the Hieber Café, the Coop and Donovan’s Pub will also add limited-time offers to their menus.

According to Don Stanwick, Resident District Manager of Dining Services, many of the changes were the direct results of student opinions communicated by the Dining Advisory Committee — a council of 16 students, primarily first-years and sophomores.

“A lot of the changes that took place this year we had talked to the Dining Advisory Committee about last October and November,” Stanwick said. “They were aware of them, they were able to add input and they helped us steer the direction that we were going. We value their feedback, and we make sure that we try to listen and to accommodate as many of [the committee’s] requests as we can.”

For example, Stanwick said that the expansion of weekend buffet options at the Coop is a response to the popularity of the Sunday buffet dinner catered by the Hamilton Inn last semester. Although the buffets will be catered by the University this semester, Stanwick said he expects the addition of brunch on both Saturdays and Sundays to be just as popular with students because of student opinion conveyed by the Dining Advisory Committee. 

“[The Hamilton Inn buffet] really opened up our eyes to what the students wanted, so when we talked to the Dining Advisory Committee, we talked about more of a brunch on Saturday and Sunday, instead of the Coop being closed, and then the overwhelming feedback was ‘yes,’” Stanwick said. “We are continuing what [the Hamilton Inn] started, just kind of putting our own little spin on it and then adding the brunch buffets on Saturday and Sunday as well.”

Meanwhile, at Frank Dining Hall, the new Bowl Life station will serve ramen noodles and other customizable bowls. Frank will also begin alternating a deli station with the existing Latin American-influenced Sono station. The Frank allergen-friendly station — Delicious Without — was also revamped with new food options that accommodate of students’ health concerns. 

The expansion of Delicious Without was particularly appreciated by students like first-year Abigail McGuire.

“I think they have some of the best food [at the Delicious Without] actually,” McGuire said. “I feel like general consensus by the students is now being heard.”

In order to gauge student interest in new food options, limited-time menu items are also planned for Chobani, Donovan’s Pub and the Coop. This month, Chobani will offer a blueberry pomegranate smoothie and a new harvest bowl, while Donovan’s Pub will debut a pesto caprese sandwich.

“It’s a new item that you can get and try that’s not necessarily going to stay on the menu, but it’s going to be available for a limited time. If people really like it, then that’s something we put on our permanent menu,” Stanwick said.

First-year Jacob Denekamp was excited about the limited-time offer concept, though he also felt that the eventual removal of a beloved limited-time offer might disappoint some students.

“I think it’s a good idea. They get people to try things, and see if there’s a demand for them,” Denekamp said. “But it’s kind of sad if they get rid of things, if some people really like them.”

For those hoping to have their voices heard in dining services in the future, Stanwick explained what individual students can do. 

“You can come and just talk to me […] we can look at it and I’ll give you an answer. We also have the Dining Advisory Committee on campus,” Stanwick said. 

Once students have expressed their requests, the process for a proposed change to come into effect differs. 

“If [the request] is like, ‘can you leave oatmeal out for an extra hour?’ or something like that: okay, no problem,” Stanwick said. “If it’s something more drastic, then we go through a process. We look at the feasibility of it, the logistics of it. How does it work? What would be the plan? What would be the guidelines? Depending on the level of change in what they want to see happen, then there’s more discussion.”

Other updates this semester include the closures of Frank serving stations from 10:30 a.m.–11 a.m. on weekdays, and from 3:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. seven days a week. Frank will still be open for drinks and snacks from the bakery during these times.

According to a Jan. 18 email from Stanwick, these brief closures were needed to give dining employees a chance to clean and reset serving stations between meal periods. Frank will still be open for drinks and snacks from the bakery during these times. Additionally, the deli and smoothie area of the Coop will be closed on weekends so that staff can focus on the buffets. 

Moving into the rest of the semester and looking toward next year, Stanwick said he hopes to continuously build on what Dining Services has already accomplished for this semester, keeping in mind the needs and desires of Colgate students along the way. 

“Our goal is to continue building on what we built on from the fall semester to the spring,” Stanwick said. “We would love to do some different things, bring some new things to campus, look at keeping the program exciting and fresh, and be able to tailor it to as many people’s needs as possible.”