The State of the Union: Changes in Strosacker Hall


Kayse Schmucker

A view of the new and improved Strosacker Hall Union Cafeteria.

Kayse Schmucker, Co-News Editor

The 2014-2015 school year has brought many big changes in the Baldwin Wallace University Strosacker Student Union dining area.
A new layout and additional cooking stations are just some of the visible changes, and even more has changed on the menu.
Dave Jensen, Director of Dining Services, is one of the spearheads for improvements made in the dining facilities on campus.
“Students have been surveyed twice a year, every year since I’ve worked here to see how they feel about the food, and every year we get a lot of feedback asking for healthier options,” Jensen said.
Finding out specifically which healthy menu items students want doesn’t happen overnight. According to Jensen, the process for the recent reconstitution of the cafeteria started at the end of last year with the introduction of test menus and a guest chef.
“When we surveyed the students, 81 percent said they loved the way the test menu was, while an additional 16 percent said they liked it,” Jensen said.
With 97 percent of responding students giving positive feedback, Jensen and the rest of Dining Services took the initiative in designing a new way of serving food that would give students the flexibility they wanted.
On top of the additional grill space that has been opened up, menu items that were previously available once a week will now be available every day.
The transition to the new format for the dining area, however, has not been completely seamless. Between the influx of new students and the adjustment for returning students, the changes caused some chaos in the first days back.
According to Jensen, despite the hectic debut, the feedback has been positive overall.
“I think most students see the advantage of the new set up. The new layout for the checkout process, the flexibility with the cook stations, is all designed to put fresher, better food out to the students in less time,” Jensen said.
Most students agree that the variety of options is a positive step forward in the dining experience, but reception of changes to the flow through the cook station area has been mixed, particularly with upperclassmen.
When asked how she felt on the subject, junior Elise Bigley showed some skepticism.
“You have to backtrack because you don’t know what’s being served until you’ve walked all the way through,” says Bigley.
Though the most significant changes have already been made, small tweaks will continue to be made to the menu, which may include swapping items in and out to optimize quality.
In a few weeks an omelette bar will be open all day every day during the week, and Philly cheesesteak sandwiches will be available daily at the Grill.
“Enormous amounts of time and effort have been put into the changes, but we really want to stay engaged with the students to continue to make improvements,” Jensen said.
For more information on the menu for all campus dining halls, visit the Student Life section of the BW website under Campus dining.