Several groups of arm chairs and couches are nestled on the edges of Dillin Hall, marking some of the recent changes to the dining and seating facilities.
Bill Masullo, general manager of Student Dining Services, said that he spent the summer collaborating with students and staff members to revamp the dining area. Sodexo funded the project to add arm chairs, flat screen televisions and accent walls. Hanging lamps were also installed in the cafeteria area, he said.
“What we’re trying to do is take a traditional first and second year dining hall and turn it into a more fun place,” Masullo said. “I think the comfortable, soft seating helped solve that. I’ve heard good reviews so far.”
Masullo said about 20 students on the food services committee helped him come up with ideas for the project.
“We bounced ideas off each other all summer,” he said. “I didn’t just dream this idea up overnight. It’s the result of about a year and half of dialogue between students and I.”
Masullo said that while certain changes, such as the armchairs, are already implemented, the project is still in process. Cable boxes and two more flatscreen TVs will be installed by the end of the week, he said.
Lori Johnson, lead cashier of Student Dining Services, said that she viewed the project as an attempt to create a family atmosphere in the dining hall.
“It gives people a place to study or hang out and relax—not to just come here and eat and run,” Johnson said.
While staff members say they are pleased with the changes, sophomore Amber Hay said that she and her friends didn’t view the soft seating as a necessary addition.
“No one really uses the couches,” Hay said. “They’re impractical to eat at. My friends and I usually want to eat at the circular tables so we can see each other while we eat and talk.”
Hay said she wished the staff would have asked for a broader range of student input before embarking on the project.
“I don’t think it was the best use of funds, but I do appreciate that they were trying.”
Joanna Peterson/Managing editor
Joanna Peterson can be reached at email@example.com.