Katy Beth Boyers, Arts & Life Editor
Over the summer, Samford Dining implemented several changes to the Caf in order to provide students with healthier options — especially those with dietary restrictions.
Last year, students like sophomore Grace Anne Kennard said they struggled to find food to fit their needs in the Caf.
“I always had to keep a Benadryl in my backpack no matter where I was eating or what I was eating,” Kennard said. “Even if I would get a salad.”
Kennard has been celiac for five years, and last year she said it seemed as though the cafeteria struggled with providing healthy and safe options for students with dietary restrictions. One of Kennard’s trip to the Caf resulted in a visit to the hospital, due to what she believes was a significant cross-contamination of food. Kennard said she believes cross contamination, along with using packaged products, have been some of the biggest issues with Samford Dining.
This year however, Samford Dining aims to provide students with more sustainable, local products.
In the past four months, changes and additions made in Samford Dining range from a new section in the Caf to integrating Grubhub into Samford Dining. General Manager Richard Davis said his goal is to give students a broader variety of fresh options and in a sustainable way.
“We get a disproportionately high number of students with dietary restrictive needs,” Davis said.“So we wanted to find a way to give them a little broader menu platform as well.”
Over the summer, Samford Dining added some new options and menu items in the cafeteria. These additions include a new salad bar with local farm, detainable product and vegan options, a build-your-own grilled cheese station and hot vegetarian options.
One of the biggest changes in the Caf opened on Sept. 3 and is called “The Local Kitchen.” “The Local Kitchen” replaces one of the “Classics” sections between “Deli” and “Pizza” sections. This area has food that is from local farms within a 250 mile radius including organic, hormone-free meats.
They have also started roasting their own deli meats in the Caf and baking their own bread with gluten free options.
The first thing Davis did to begin making these changes is looking at the survey sent out to students about what changes could be made to Samford Dining.
“The two things that we saw repeatedly were the need for more sustainable product, and more student involvement in what we are doing,” Davis said.
One opportunity for students to get involved with Samford Dining includes the new coffee machines called Roar. Five percent of all sales of Roar Coffee go to environmentally friendly charities like Never Thirst, a Birmingham-based organization that attends mission trips to help provide safe drinking water in poor areas in developing countries.
“Our ultimate hope would be that somewhere in the future it is Samford students going on those trips with them,” Davis said.
Samford Dining is also currently developing another dining retail outlet in the Pete Hanna Center for students living around that area that sometimes don’t want to travel all the way down to the Caf for a hot meal.
Yet another major addition to Samford Dining is the integration of Grubhub on campus. Grubhub is an app that is used to order food from local restaurants and have people pick it up or delivered to them.
Samford students will be able to use Grubhub for on-campus dining options including the Food Court in the University Center, and Freshens in College of Health Sciences.
Samford University is one of the first campuses to get Grubhub Campus, according to Samford Dining Marketing Manager Tyler Brown.
Students will not only be able to order from different campus restaurants on Grubhub, they can also use their Bulldog Bucks or Dining Dollars on the app. Along with that, Grubhub will remember students’ preferences as time goes on.
“In the settings of Grubhub, there is a place that says ‘Campus,’ and you will select your affiliation, which is Samford. It will redirect you to your portal login, and will pull your Bulldog Bucks, your Dining Dollars and additional Dining Dollars. It will refresh with your meal plan in the spring,” Brown said.
Samford Dining hopes to continue to add and change things that will give students healthier options, especially for those with dietary restrictions, Davis said. These changes aim to help resolve issues students like Grace Anne Kennard dealt with last year.