The University of Indianapolis Office of Student Affairs sent out an email to all students on March 9 announcing facility upgrades coming to the dining hall in Fall 2023. According to the email, the redesign will fully remodel the current kitchen, serving stations and dining areas. The email said that the upgrades are meant to emphasize a few key areas: increased offerings, sustainability and making the dining hall a more community-oriented experience.
First year environmental science major Evan Probst said that he hopes the upgrades will provide the dining staff with the opportunity to serve a wider variety of options, which is also something the email from Student Affairs emphasized.
“Hopefully [the dining hall] will have more options for different foods and stuff like that rather than having them make just large batches of whatever,” Probst said. “It could be more individualized.”
According to the March 9 email, having a variety of customizable options along with a hot and cold bar will allow for more variety in diet, as well as flexibility for people with specific dietary needs. Vice President for Student Experience, Success and Belonging Amber Smith said there are lots of students on campus who have various dietary needs ranging from vegetarian, vegan, religious restrictions and even those who are simply picky eaters. Smith said that it is important to make the options that are available apparent to the students who need them. She said with the upgrades, students will be able to see their food as it is prepared, giving students more insight into what is going on behind the scenes.
“So they [students] get to see way more of what is happening behind the scenes with food preparation and cooking,” Smith said. “You’ll get to see a lot of food from the time that they start cooking it to the time that it’s delivered to you.”
According to Smith, the upgrades will make the dining hall a more modern facility. She said that since UIndy is 102 years old, it is important for students to continue to have facilities that reflect current trends and technology.
“It’s really important to the university to see things like this come to fruition,” Smith said. “And we want to do more of this as we progress, right? [We] want to stay current and on top of things.”
One of the goals of making the dining hall a more open, community-oriented space is to help students create relationships on campus, according to Smith. She said that building relationships over good food, in a good space, is important to her.
“We’re hoping that openness, like some of the elimination of some of the doors and walls will create more connectedness and more social opportunities,” Smith said. “It’s really important that we build relationships on this campus.”
Probst said that it means a lot to him and the UIndy community that the dining staff is willing to make these upgrades and that it shows the staff cares about the students.
“To me it shows that they actually kind of care,” Probst said “Because, logistically, they don’t have to.”
The dining hall is scheduled to close during this summer after graduation to undergo construction, according to the March 9 email. The email said the dining hall will operate in the basement of Schwitzer for students who have meal plans for spring and summer terms. Specific information regarding UIndy Dining’s operations during the summer will be released later, according to Student Affairs.