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Dining Services moves forward with changes

by Mallory Culhane

At the start of the semester, The University of Tampa Dining Services rolled out several changes to dining locations across campus.

“As a former UT student, I’ve witnessed the positive changes in the dining halls and how those changes have affected the students’ outlook on campus dining,” said Stefanie Crocco, marketing coordinator of UT Dining Services. “It’s not just about having quality food and service, but it’s also about having a quality experience that brings them back.” 

A number of changes have been implemented across campus. In Morsani Hall, Star Ginger has extended hours and will now be open until 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. At Mindful, there are new kebabs, greek salads, and other greek options. Gyros have also been added to the list of meal exchanges. Casserettes have also been brought to Pandini’s and spring rolls are new at the Gourmet Grocer. 

“All of the new items at Mindful sound really good, it’s nice to have something new to try instead of the same stuff from last year,” said Abbey Hill, sophomore secondary math education major. 

Chick-fil-A and Dairy Queen both got a new look and a few additional menu items. Dairy Queen now has novelty ice cream and Chick-fil-A now offers milkshakes. 

However, some students feel that the changes that were made should have been for something else.

“I wish they would’ve added a new dining location like Chipotle or Dunkin’ Donuts,” said Hill. “Most college campuses have well known fast food chains, I wish we had more than just Chick-fil-A and Dairy Queen.”

The new design for Chick-fil-A requires students to go up to the counter, order items and wait. In years past, already made food would be sitting out so students could come right up and not need to wait. 

“I think it was pointless, I know everyone complains about having to order and wait in line and now it’s so much slower,” said Hill. 

There are also several events set up by UT dining services this semester. The most recent is the farmer’s market, which occurred on Friday, Sept. 27. The farmer’s market had locally grown produce such as mangoes, oranges, mushrooms, and plums. Students were able to pay a flat rate of 10 dollars for a bag to fill with whatever they choose. 

However, due to Florida being in offseason, there was a limited variety of produce available and by paying a flat rate, some students were not satisfied. 

“I wanted to go to get a few apples but they didn’t have any,” said Lauren Blake, sophomore nursing major. “I also didn’t want to have to pay a flat rate of 10 dollars when I can go to the store to get produce for two dollars and not have to worry about a bunch of stuff going bad.”

As of now, there aren’t any plans for another farmer’s market, but Crocco said dining services is open to the idea of having another in the spring. 

Each semester, dining services and the student culinary council (SCC) runs a customer satisfaction survey for two weeks asking students, faculty, and staff ways to improve dining locations on campus.

Members of the SCC include 10 student reps, which communicate with dining services to give feedback. The feedback from the SCC and results from the surveys each semester help dining services make decisions on changes. 

A new way for Dining Services to receive feedback this year is through the BITE app. Students are able to download the app and view menus and nutritional information of the daily menus of Ultimate Dining and Panache. Students will also be able to rate menu items and give feedback. 

Mallory Culhane can be reached at mallory.culhane@theminaretonline.com

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