It’s pretty hard to talk about dining in Auburn without at least taking a glimpse at on-campus options.
With a required meal plan of $300 for commuter students and $995 for residents each semester, it gets a lot of attention from students. Some love campus options and some hate them.
I tend to give Tiger Dining, the organization behind campus dining venues, credit. In the three years I’ve been here, there’s been a ton of changes.
We’ve gained a Chik-n-Grill, a Go Greek! and now a Chobani bar in the Student Center. They’ve added a lot of build-your-own-(insert food name here) venues in the Village Dining center, including stir-fry, pizza, pasta, salad, sushi and more.
Even good old Foy Hall has gotten a revamp with the addition of Panda Express, Tender Lovin’ Chicken (TLC) and Pizza Phlats. And Lord knows Terrell Hall has been fixed up quite nicely, now boasting a Taco Trek and an all-you-choose-to-eat option.
For people wanting to eat green? There’s a venue for that now, too! Lupton Hall in the Quad now holds not only the old favorite Lupton Deli, but also the new farm-to-table option Plains-to-Plate.
Carts and food trucks have even begun to roll onto campus.
I make no arguments for the prices–those are pretty steep sometimes–but the quality has really improved leaps and bounds.
As a resident assistant, I’ve met personally with Glenn Loughridge, the director of Campus Dining, multiple times. Somehow, the topic of healthy options comes up every time. Why? Because that’s what students want, so that is his focus.
How did Loughridge and Tiger Dining know what changes to make? They’ve made an effort to seek out student input and listen to what they have to say.
They’ve worked with Residence Life staff to try to see what residents want. They use Twitter and Facebook daily. There’s even a focus group of student with special dietary needs, such as gluten intolerance or vegan/vegetarian lifestyles, that helps give Tiger Dining an idea of what is needed on campus.
So no, Auburn does not have the giant cafeterias with all-you-can-eat buffets that you see on almost every other college campus. No, it’s not exactly cheap.
But we do have variety and we do have quality.
I, for one, applaud Tiger Dining.
As a little bonus, below is a video package I did recently on the addition of the Plains-to-Plate venue. Enjoy!