2011 2011: UMass Dartmouth unveils new student dining experience

2011 2011: UMass Dartmouth unveils new student dining experience
UMass Dartmouth unveils new student dining experience

Key ingredients: flexibility and sustainability

UMass Dartmouth unveiled a new student dining experience today, including a $1.6 million transformation of its resident dining hall, just days before thousands of students descend on campus for the 2011-2012 academic year. 

The remodeling of the dining hall, now called The Marketplace, is among the commitments that new food service vendor Chartwells made when winning the contract to manage UMass Dartmouth's $11 million food services enterprise. The comprehensive 10-month public bidding process included broad-based feedback from students, faculty and staff who indicated a desire for more flexibility and a focus on environmentally friendly business practices. 

The new program will be Chartwells' first "Pulse On Dining" initiative in Massachusetts, which is based on detailed research into the preferences and traits of Millennials and Generation Z.  Features include: service options ranging from self-prepared to restaurant-style, cameras and video monitors showing how food is prepared, a sustainability effort that includes paperless menus and turning grease into bio-fuels; and food grown within five miles of campus. 

"This new facility demonstrates that we care about the whole student,'' UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack said. "We know that healthy students are better students. And we know that engaged students are better students. By combining the expertise of Chartwells and the feedback from our students, we have created a dining experience that meets the nutritional needs of our students but also brings students together in a comfortable place to discuss the ideas they have encountered in the classroom and laboratory." 

Chartwells Educational Dining Services President and CEO Steve Sweeney said, ""On behalf of Chartwells, I want to thank you for the confidence you have placed in us by welcoming our teams to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus. We are proud to provide our customized dining services plan that is truly aligned with the University's vision for growth and focus on student retention, satisfaction and success. Thank you for your trust as our teams ensure that students enjoy each dining experience as they transition to college life on the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus." 

UMass Dartmouth Student Government Association President Joseph Mello added, Chartwells "never lost touch with what is truly important - what the customer, in this case students, want.  That is exactly what you see right now, a great mix of Chartwells initiatives and students' desires, and I must say it is a beautiful dining hall. I speak for the entire student body when I say we are anxious and excited about all the other plans and improvements Chartwell's has coming to our institution." 

Following the brief speaking program and ribbon-cutting, guests were be able to sample the food that will be served to students this year and learn more about the University/Chartwell's partnership.