Central campus dining hall offers new meal options


Kassondra Little, Staff Writer

In its first week open on campus, the line to the Central Campus Residence and Dining Hall was out of the door, passing over onto the Central green.

At lunchtime on a weekday, students swarmed both outside and inside the new building.

“They made some buttermilk pancakes the other day for breakfast that actually tasted like pancakes, which is unusual for dining hall breakfast,” sophomore Jake Senecal said. “Then they made salmon filets the other day that were phenomenal.”

The new dining hall opened for the first time to students Aug. 26. It is located on the ground floor of the brand new Central Campus Residence Hall, which is home to students in the Wellness Environment (WE).

Senecal is a returning member of WE and a residential adviser in the new building.

“One of the four pillars of WE is nutrition,” Senecal said. “It’s critical that we have decent healthy food to eat or we would not be upholding one of the four major Wellness Environment practices that we hold dear.”

Senecal said that the director of the WE, Jim Hudziak, specifically advocated for the new dining hall to have healthier food options than other campus dining halls.

Within the new dining hall, there are also designated stations to provide for students with common allergies and diet preferences; these stations which can be found in other halls on campus, are known as My Zone and Simple Servings, according to UVM Dining.

“We come down here to have meetings,” Senecal said. “It is nice that they have so many options… We can all eat together and have our own meals depending on people’s diets.”

The new dining hall includes a variety of meal stations: Fireside, which serves oven baked pizzas, My Zone, which is gluten and allergy free, and Discovery Kitchen.

“The Discovery Kitchen is focused on engaging students in the three key areas of health, culture and sustainability and answering their questions about where their food comes from and how to prepare it,” said Melissa Zelazny, director of UVM Dining, to University Communications.

The Discovery Kitchen will be home to a campus event known as WE Chopped, which is a cooking class that teaches UVM students how to prepare healthy meals, Senecal said.

“Our vision is to transform students into lifelong learners who make informed choices within our complex food system,” Zelazny said.

Senecal said his first-year residents in the new hall have expressed their satisfaction with the food to him.

The dining hall was designed to serve 5,000 meals per day, taking into consideration Central campus traffic and residents of the building, he said.

According to UVM Dining, the Central dining hall is open 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.