Feeding 2,000 hungry college students every day is no easy task, but the chefs, servers, and other employees in University of Lynchburg Dining Services work hard to cook up satisfaction.
The award-winning dining staff members pride themselves with being student-centered as they plan meals, add new options of food, or apply sustainable practices.
“We believe that the key to creating the best dining experience is to consistently provide a high level of customer service and most importantly, to develop and foster relationships within the LC community and beyond,” said Shaun Dearden, co-director/operations manager.
Relationships with the campus community begin with warm smiles and welcoming attitudes from dining services workers. A student comment board in the dining hall provides students with an easy way to share feedback, ask questions, and request particular foods. Charlotte Galamb, a senior who worked for dining services ever since her first year at LC, said she has seen many changes come to campus dining in response to student feedback. Dearden, and Michial Neal, co-director and chef, believe in listening to the students and serving “wholesome and good food,” Charlotte said.
Campus dining options include three locations in the Drysdale Student Center, the cafeteria-style Burton Dining Hall; the Westover Room, which offers a made-to-order grill station and Boar’s Head Deli, along with a comprehensive convenience store; and On Common Ground, a marketplace style food service venue that serves Tex-Mex food and houses a “We Proudly Serve” Starbucks.
Located in Schewel Hall, Brewed Awakenings by the Muse serves up a variety of hand crafted coffee beverages, accompanied by a wide selection of sandwiches, grab-and-go items, fresh baked pastries, and fruit. The Muse, a local coffee shop, began operating Brewed Awakenings in August and has brought students ethically sourced coffee processed in its own roastery just a few mile of University of Lynchburg.
Providing late night service and a campus delivery option, Domino’s in the Rainsford House continues to be very popular with the students, faculty, and staff.
Charlotte credits dining services with making a big push for improving sustainability. In recent years, the dining hall has eliminated trays, which reduced waste per meal by two thirds, and added smaller plate sizes, which help customers reduce how much food they could potentially waste. Excess food is donated to The Daily Bread, a local nonprofit that serves free lunch every day to those in need.
Beyond creating great food, Dining Services aims to create a delightful atmosphere. Several times each semester, the dining hall hosts a theme meal, complete with special menus and decorations, such as a Halloween meal, Super Bowl meal, and the ever-popular Late Night Breakfast to kick off finals week every semester. The Westover Room hosts frequent live viewings of LC athletic events, too. “We see the students as they grow, so we always try to support our athletes,” said Charlotte.
Christina Antonucci ’18 knows from firsthand experience how Dining Services strives to accommodate individual needs and requests. “Since I first came to University of Lynchburg, the dining hall has given me so many more options for gluten free meals,” she said. “The gluten-free station now provides a space with separate appliances to make food and a variety of gluten free foods.”