Sodexo, Liberty make dining changes for new semester

Over the past few months, many new additions and changes to Liberty’s dinning facilities have been made, further challenging the negative stigma of college food.

At the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall, changes have been made to the entrance of the cafeteria. Now, students must scan their Flames Pass at a sliding turnstile in order to enter. According to Liberty Dining Marketing Manager Casey Guise, the change was made in order to ensure that people getting food are students with meal plans or those that have paid for a meal.

Additionally, dining General Manager Duke Davis said the turnstiles allow for fewer employees to monitor the entrance, leaving them free to perform other duties.

“The university always planned to have the turnstiles, and … when they worked in LaHaye, they wanted to bring them here,” Davis said. “The students haven’t gotten used to (them) yet, but I think as time goes on, it will become second nature.”

A new dining option has also been added to the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall. The new addition is called Champions Choice, which features a rotating menu that, like most of the dining options, is self-serve. Additionally, Guise said the Global Fusion section will be offering food from a wider variety of countries.

Recent additions to the dining options on campus include a Baskin Robins coupled with Dunkin Donuts located on the first floor of the Commons I dorm. According to Guise, these changes were made as a result of student feedback and comments.

“We’ve needed more ice cream on campus, according to many students we’ve heard from, and I quite agree,” Guise said. “So, the new Baskin Robbins meets that need in a delicious way.”

Guise and Davis mentioned that this semester would see an increase of dining options as well as a revival of old favorites.

“This semester, students can look forward to the return of Bistro ’71 at David’s Place,” Guise said. “That location was always popular with students, and we’re meeting the desire to bring back those pizzettes and melts.”

In addition to Bistro ’71, Davis said the Doc’s Diner is adding menu options, and more retail venues are on the way.

“We’re adding a Wingstreet to the Pizza Hut, and when the Bistro comes back, I think students will go bananas,” Davis said.

According to Davis, the Bistro ’71 and Wingstreet are scheduled to be operational by the middle of February. In addition, Director of Food Service Operations Louis Cambeletta said an online ordering system for Doc’s Gourmet To Go is also in the works.

In a recent article by the Daily Beast, Liberty was ranked as the third healthiest college in the nation based on alcohol and drug use and healthy food options. Guise explained that Liberty Dining keeps up to date with food trends so it can provide excellent service to students.

“We keep track of trends on a national level as well, so students at Liberty enjoy the latest in dining programming, as well as staying ahead of the curve,” Guise said. “For example, Liberty is recognized for being in the top 10 gluten-free-accommodating colleges in the country.”

According to Cambeletta, he and Sodexo work together to provide a fulfilling campus dining experience.

“Changes to food services at Liberty University are done with myself and the Sodexo team partnering to enhance the dining experience for our students, whether it be by a new venue … or better quality food,” Cambeletta said.

According to Davis, Sodexo hopes to form a committee of student and university leaders to help plan future dining decisions.

“Our goal is to improve every semester,” Davis said. “ We’re planning fun events coming up … like a New York-themed night with street food you would find in New York and New York-style entertainment.”

Cambeletta stressed that student health and satisfaction are priorities in the decisions made by Liberty and Sodexo.

“I want to make sure we are always looking for new dining options for the students on campus, as it plays a big role in enhancing their day-to-day college experience,” Cambeletta said.

STEPTOE is a news reporter.

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