S.U.B. expansion benefits both student and staff on campus

With the new school year comes a newly renovated Wheelock Student Center and Diner.

The changes made to the Diner include a larger kitchen, additional seating areas, an allergy-friendly station, more food options and many other modifications, all of which have contributed to campus sustainability efforts.

The Diner’s kitchen has tripled in size and food quality has improved as a result.

The larger kitchen allows Dining and Conference Services to purchase fresher food, improving the dining experience for consumers.

“We used to have to buy things like melon pre-cut. There’s a huge difference now that we can prepare our food on site,” Terry Halvorson, Director of Dining Services, said.

In addition to the larger kitchen, due to the expansion of the Wheelock Student Center, there are more areas for students to sit.

The Marshall Hall wing includes 21 new tables which have created an additional 160 compared to last year.

Students are grateful for the added seating accommodations.

“It can get really crowded during lunch rush. I can always find somewhere to sit now,” sophomore Audrey Kaufman said.

Returning students may take note of the absence of the Diner’s previous vegan and vegetarian station.

“We started the vegan/vegetarian station in 1998. At the time, it was revolutionary,” Terry Halvorson said. “Now, vegan and vegetarian food is very common. So what we’ve tried to address instead is student allergies.”

The allergy-friendly station offers many options for those who have dietary restrictions.

Vegan and vegetarian options are still available, but are spread out among the other food stations.

The food changes and improvements include a salad bar containing exclusively organic offerings and a tossed salad daily.

The Grab & Go section of the Diner has been expanded and now includes exotic offerings such as sushi.

In addition, a two-sided sandwich station that helps to minimize lines during the lunch and dinner rushes has been added. Students will also notice the Coke Freestyle machines that have been added, which offer more than 140 beverages.

“Our hope was that this would discourage students from purchasing canned and bottled beverages. It’s working,” said Terry Halvorson.

While the Diner renovation presents many changes, student favorites remain. The Diner still serves waffles on weekends as well as biscuits and gravy on Wednesdays.

Another change to the Diner has been its increased efforts for sustainability. With the renovation comes a trayless dish return, TV monitors displaying menu options, and three InSinkErators that enable waste to be turned into Tagro, a fertilizer made and used by the city of Tacoma. The trayless dish return saves water, the TV monitors minimize the use of paper and the InSinkErators allow for waste to be recycled instead of landfilled.

The benefits of renovating the S.U.B. have not only expanded options and space for students on campus, but staff members as well.