Binghamton University students will be greeted on campus this semester with eight new additions to dining services in an effort to create a more diverse, inclusive menu.
John Enright, general manager of resident dining, said these changes are a result of efficient safety protocols in compliance with COVID-19 regulations, as well as student opinions and feedback.
“The ability to reintroduce more food choices while remaining in compliance with safety protocols has allowed us to expand our menu options,” Enright said. “All changes were made ensuring the health and safety of the campus community. These changes were made possible through the feedback we received from students, customer surveys and the Student Culinary Council. [BU Dining Services’] chefs challenged themselves with applying this feedback to make significant updates to all menus across campus.”
Cameron Wallace, a sophomore with an environmental studies individualized major, had a difficult time finding meals on campus that suited his dietary needs and is looking forward to having access to a larger variety of meal options.
“As a vegetarian, options were really limited some days in the dining halls last semester,” Wallace said. “I can count on one hand how many times I got a meal from the dining hall last semester — I had to resort to getting Market Place or [the Chenango Room] every day. I would find myself eating the same three meals, and that got old very quick. It makes me happy to see [BU] add some options with their vegetarian and vegan students in mind. It is definitely a step in the right direction, and I hope [the University] continues to support their students’ dining needs. I am very excited to try out all of the new plant-based options this semester.”
Gifts from the Garden, a strictly vegan station at College-in-the-Woods Dining Hall, will be offering more menu options throughout the week. Enright said the hot lines at residential dining halls will be offering new vegan options for lunch and dinner as well.
Along with vegan and vegetarian options, Kosher Korner in the Chenango Champlain Collegiate Dining Center (C4) will be offering a new rotating menu influenced by student opinions. Simple Servings, the allergen-friendly station at C4 and Appalachian Collegiate Center, has also seen changes in response to student feedback and preferences.
In addition to the changes made to accommodate dietary restrictions, there are other variations that will be implemented across campus. Parkway Shakes, located in the Market Place, will open this spring and is set to offer a variety of gourmet milkshakes, including a vegan strawberry milkshake. The Chenango Room has added Chipotle-style menu items, such as taco salads, burritos, bowls and street tacos, which will be available Monday through Friday.
The Health Sciences Campus, which contains the new Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences building, located in Johnson City, opens this semester. Their food court plans on serving breakfast, made-to-order Mediterranean meals and prepackaged meals to students and faculty.
Emily Boller, a sophomore majoring in nursing, looks forward to using the convenient new food court next year.
“As a nursing student approaching my time at the Downtown Center, I am pleased to see that the nursing students weren’t forgotten,” Boller said. “Having a good selection of meals and snacks will really help the busy nursing students that will be using the facility.”
Formerly known as Cakes & Eggs, Breakfast, Burgers & Beyond will serve a large selection of unique burgers with a menu that rotates every two weeks. Similar to before the rebranding, Breakfast, Burgers, & Beyond will continue to serve breakfast sandwiches and platters in the morning. Enright said the rebranding was based on student feedback.
“Traditionally we ended breakfast at 2 p.m. and closed the station,” Enright said. “We decided to reopen the station in the afternoon and evening to provide more options to the students.”
A new station in Appalachian Dining Hall, called B-Cuisine, will continue to directly take the ideas and opinions from students into consideration, as B-Cuisine will feature menu items that were suggested from student feedback.
Enright said that ideas and opinions can always be submitted, and students are encouraged to do so. Enright said one way students can get involved is by attending Student Culinary Council meetings, which occur on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. They can be contacted at SCC@binghamton.edu.
“We get our ideas from students in many ways, including our website comment cards, MyDtxt thoughts, social interaction and the Student Culinary Council,” Enright said.