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Students return to remodeled dining hall

Reprinted with permission of the News-Register. Find more News-Register stories about Linfield College here.

 

Dillin Hall, photo by Starla Pointer

Starla Pointer / News-Register
Linfield students pick up lunch in the newly remodeled dining hall, which features plenty of stainless steel.

Aug. 22, 2013

By Starla Pointer Of the News-Register

Thanks to a summer remodeling project, Linfield College’s dining hall is a lighter, brighter place — one that will welcome students all day, not just at traditional meal times.

Both the cafeteria, called Dillin Hall, and the new campus Starbucks, occupying the former O’Riley’s space in Riley Hall, are designed to be gathering places where students can socialize and study, said Allison Horn, director of facilities and auxiliary services.

And the students and staff who’ve seen the spaces so far are eager to put them to use. “They’re like ‘wow’ and ‘beautiful,’” said Bill Masulla, general manager for Sodexo, the food service provider.

Members of the football team and other students who arrived early ate in the dining hall this week. The big rush, though, won’t come until this weekend. That’s when other students will be moving in to prepare for Monday’s start of classes.

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Many of the dining hall’s customers come in for breakfast, lunch and dinner all three.

This fall, those customers will find a more open serving area with numerous stations for pickup of a variety of meal options. They’ll also be able to see cooks preparing their food — chopping fresh vegetables, stir-frying entrees in a wok or grilling quesadillas to order.

“We did all that before, but it was behind a wall,” Masulla said.

Signage is being added to inform diners about the sources of their food. Many of the items come from local sources, such as Carlton Farm meats or local dairy products and produce.

That’s not new either, said Masulla, who’s been at Linfield since 2007. The staff at Dillin, which serves about 3,500 meals a day, is just doing a better job of telling that story.

He said he also wants students to have a better understanding of the dining halls effort at sustainability.

Whenever possible, waste is put to other uses. Local hog farmers come by a couple times a week to collect leftover food for their animals. Used vegetable oil from deep fryers goes to Mac Oil, which turns it into biodiesel fuel.

“Before, we had to pay to have the used oil removed,” Masulla said. “This is a win-win situation.”

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The newly redecorated dining hall features cool grays and tans, with lots of stainless steel and white china. A large skylight and plenty of windows bringing in natural light. Brightly hued fruit, a well-stocked salad bar and freshly prepared entrees add points of color.

“It’s more like a cafe, not a cafeteria,” Masullo said.

The dining hall now is open from 7 a.m. to midnight most days, rather than just at meal times. Students can come in late in the evening get something to eat and study, he said, or professors can bring whole classes in for a discussion session. “And it’s another venue where campus residents can hang with friends,” he said.

Several small spaces off the main dining room will be available for special programs.

One will be used for a “chef’s table” area, seating up to 10 students. It will be overseen by Executive Chef Noah Bekofsky.

Bekofsky oversees a menu that includes a consistent list of student favorites mixed with new offerings. It caters to students who want vegetarian and vegan options, as well as meat and potatoes. And the staff works with the campus dietitian to make sure options are available for students with food allergies and other special needs.

“We want students to have a good experience and their parents to feel safe,” Masullo said.