Source: The Red and Black

By Jessica Jordan

For the Red & Black

September 21, 2005

Although the University’s dining halls are ranked among the best in the country, several improvements are planned within the next year.

Director of University Food Services Michael Floyd said Oglethorpe Dining Commons will be renovated next summer.

New features will include a Mongolian grill and a coffee shop, where students will gain access to a "coffee shop menu with a meal plan price."

Later hours will also be implemented at the newly-renovated Oglethorpe dining hall next fall, said Floyd, who said he hopes eventually to have a 24-hour dining facility at the University.

A study released last week by Educational Benchmarking Incorporated found that University students have expressed increasing satisfaction with Food Services over the past seven years.

Of the 245 participating schools, the University ranked in the top 1 percent of college food services based on student surveys regarding food quality, variety, cleanliness and value.

"We have won 59 national awards; most of those national awards have come from outside groups," said Floyd, who has directed Food Services for 19 years.

"This survey is based on our customers’ comments who see our employees and use our facilities every day, so it’s nice to have our own UGA family brag on us," he said.

More than 7,500 students purchased the University meal plan this year, allowing them to spend $10.99 per day to enjoy unlimited amounts of food from the four dining halls.

"You can eat any diet you want — the fat-boy diet or the meathead diet, there’s a lot of variety," said Jake Hersko, a junior from Marietta.

The University has broken its all-time off-campus record this year with 1,600 off-campus students on the meal plan, evenly split between off-campus males and females, Floyd said.

Hersko, whose only complaint was that the dining hall should serve bigger chicken fillets, said, "Being a junior, you kind of feel old because there’s lots of freshmen running around here, but nowhere else can I eat eight meals a day in such a short amount of time."

While the University remains a national leader in the food service industry, other colleges, such as Appalachian State University, serve items like sushi and candy not available to University meal plan participants.

Meredith Sterrett, a freshman from Blacksburg, Va., expressed dissatisfaction with dining hall hours.

"I live in Brumby, and Bolton closes at seven, which is too early. It also closes on the weekends even though it’s the dining hall closest to the freshmen who are mostly on the meal plan," Sterrett said.

Floyd said Bolton would be open later if there was more parking available adjacent to the building.

Snelling, which is open until midnight Mondays through Thursdays, was chosen as the extended-hour dining hall because of its proximity to the parking garage, making it more convenient for off-campus students to utilize.