Photos courtesy of Xavier ConneX | The Hoff Dining Commons spruced up over the break with renovations near the entrance as well as more options and plans for a healthier future.
Dining hall receptionists swiped in hundreds of students just in time to see the new caf renovations for the first time on Monday morning. However, the visible changes weren’t the only ones made.
The new renovations in the Hoff Dining Commons were described by Jennifer Paiotti, marketing director of Xavier Dining, as “part of continual improvements for the resident dining program.”
“A new entry and exit way, new counter area including a redesign of the soft serve area at the bakery, digital menu boards and a touchscreen comment card kiosk were part of this project,” Paiotti said. “Working to build an inclusive dining experience is what Xavier ConneX and our partner Chartwells strives to accomplish.”
Paiotti added that the renovations were scheduled for the summer of 2017 and were not a result of Chartwells moving into the Gallagher Student Center.
“The Chartwells residential financial program and the new Chartwells retail program are financially different and will remain so,” Paiotti said. “While the partnership for our residential program is Chartwells, Xavier ConneX works hand-in-hand with all of our Xavier partners to ensure the voices of campus are heard, and we work to incorporate changes that reflect the ever-changing nature of the generations of students.”
Some of the renovations are less obvious to the naked eye and have less to do with how the student dining experience looks and more with tastes and how it affects diners’ bodies and the planet.
It was discovered through comments, the comment card wall, focus groups and surveys that Xavier might bleed more green than blue.
“The vegan and vegetarian station menu is completely redesigned,” Paiotti said. “Additionally, vegan options throughout each station have been added. Vegan burgers will be available at the Avoiding Gluten station, tofu will be available at the pasta station and vegan cheese will be available at most locations upon request.
“The menu boards will state menu items that are balanced, vegetarian and vegan, including serving sizes and calories.”
Paiotti said that ConneX takes all feedback seriously, and throughout the winter break ConneX worked to create a “health forward and focused menu while adding in more vegetarian and vegan options to not only the dedicated station but every station.”
Furthermore, the menu is showcasing foods from local farmers.
“Knowing the story of your food, where it comes from and how far it is from campus not only heightens the dining experience, but it is a significant part of the sustainability initiatives for Xavier and Chartwells,” Paiotti said. “Chartwells strives to purchase menu items within 400 miles of Cincinnati whenever possible, and students, faculty and staff voiced their comments on wanting to pursue local farming.
“Because this is something that has happened for many years, ConneX intends to share those stories and bring light to the many initiatives that occur in the residential program that you may not know are already happening.”
As for the future, Paiotti revealed some predictions including sustainability and portion control.
“While this is an all-you-care-to-eat dining hall, we are working to share and encourage portion control, healthier eating habits and sustainable practices that not only help the Xavier community but a more significant green practice for a better world,” Paiotti said.
By: Brittany Wells ~Staff Writer~