August 18, 2016 : By Liberty University News Service
When Liberty University students return to campus this fall, they will find a number of new cuisine options. Sodexo, Liberty’s dining services provider, has been hard at work this summer preparing new restaurants and upgraded menus for the coming semester.
The new Montview Student Union, which is scheduled to open this month, will offer six dining venues, including Garbanzo (Mediterranean), Star Ginger (Asian), UFood Grill (hamburgers), The Grid Marketplace (a convenience store concept), Woodfire Pizza, and Argo Tea, which will be the first teahouse on campus. Next week, the East Coast president of Sodexo and top executives will visit campus for a special grand opening of the new student union.
Doc’s Diner, located on East Campus, has added Hilltop Pizza Delivery — a new service that will deliver pizza to residence halls and buildings on campus. Last year, Doc’s also added a Gourmet To Go section, featuring a drive-thru and an online ordering portal.
Louis Cambeletta, Liberty’s associate vice president of Auxiliary Services, said that every semester the university looks for ways to improve students’ dining experience.
“These new venues will give our students more options as these additions will take us to over 24 locations on campus,” he said. “These new venues will also provide very unique options that they will not be able to get anywhere else on campus, or even in Lynchburg for that matter.”
Students can still expect to see the “Cravings” food truck, which opened last fall and features a rotating menu, which will be serving at South Campus daily.
Also last fall, the university opened an Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and a Pizza Hut WingStreet in the Jerry Falwell Library. The Tilley Student Center opened Farmer’s Field, a made-to-order salad concept with fresh protein toppings, including salmon, shrimp, steak, and chicken. A “smash burger” station opened in the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall, providing students, faculty, and staff fresh beef prepared as they watch. Wholly Habaneros, a food truck-style eatery in Tilley Student Center, received an upgrade to allow better visibility and faster service.
Liberty has been recognized nationally for its efforts to provide a top-notch dining atmosphere on campus. The Reber-Thomas Dining Hall recently received its second-consecutive No. 1 ranking on the BestColleges.com list of Best Dining Halls.
The ranking was based on multiple factors, including the use of fresh ingredients and diversity of offerings, as well as the dining hall’s innovation in food sourcing, waste reduction, and other sustainable practices.
Liberty ranked ahead of Kennesaw State University, the University of California-Berkeley, Emory University, and UMass-Amherst, which rounded out the top five. Other schools highlighted included No. 11 UC San Diego, No. 12 Yale, No. 13 Virginia Tech, No. 14 UCLA, and No. 15 MIT.
Throughout the year, the Reber-Thomas Dining Hall offers special events, tastings, and themed menus to keep students engaged and interested in their dining plan, as well as to teach them about forming healthy eating habits.
In the spring, Liberty had the opportunity to showcase its innovative dining services to the industry when it hosted the 2016 National Association for College and University Food Service (NACUFS) Mid-Atlantic Region Conference. More than 30 colleges were represented by food service leaders, chefs, and vendor partners.
For more on Liberty’s dining options, visit Liberty.edu/Dining.