District Manager for Sodexo Food Service David Bateman, from left, General Manager for Sodexo at VCSU Doug Britt, and VCSU President Steve Shirley present the new cafeteria in VCSUâ€™s student center Wednesday.
Students spend much of their time on Valley City State Universityâ€™s campus in classrooms, labs and athletic facilities, but students, together with faculty and staff, arguably spend most of their time at VCSU in the dining facilities located inside the student center.
The cafeteria, or simply, â€śThe Caf,â€ť which has been operated by catering company Sodexo Food Service for over 30 years, has recently undergone a $425,000 renovation and expansion in service.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Wednesday to unveil the new facillity.
During the ceremony, David Bateman, district manager for Sodexo Food Service, said, â€śItâ€™s all about the student experience for us.â€ť
The facility now has various stations where students can choose different options for their meals. Stations include a grill, international station, pizza station, comfort food entree station along with a full selection of beverages and desserts.
Before, the cafeteria featured a simple but dated buffet-style serving station. A salad bar was also available for students.
But with these new renovations, Sodexo General Manager at VCSU Doug Britt explained, students are able to have a more enjoyable dining experience.
The international station will feature cooked-to-order pasta and stir-fry dishes. The comfort food station will feature menu items such as meat loaf and casseroles. There is also a full grill and deli, which offers a variety of sandwiches and other popular items.
Britt said that with these expanded options, students have more of a choice in their meals, which he says are healthier and more fun.
Also part of the renovations are the combination of carpet and wood-accented interior decor, which Britt says makes the Caf a warm, comfortable place where people want to eat.
And by people, he means anyone. Britt said that anyone from the public is invited to eat at the Caf. They just have to pay the one-time fee at the door, and everything in there is unlimited.
And in keeping with VCSUâ€™s pioneering use of technology, the dining facilities also feature new electronic menu boards. Britt said that students nowadays are more likely to read a screen than a piece of paper.
The Cafâ€™s renovations stand alongside a new coffee stand, installed last year, called the Viking Grounds, which brews Starbucks coffee and offers its signature drinks.
â€śItâ€™s been very successful, and the students enjoy it. It kind of brings in the culture of today into the university where people can get a coffee and study,â€ť Britt said.