New dining halls open for fall semester

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  • The Main Dining Commons, located next to The University Store, will offer students a wide variety of food options.Photo by: Amanda White

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Tayler Critchlow

The newly renovated Main Dining Commons and Lakeside Dining Commons, formerly known as Landrum and Lakeside Cafe respectively, underwent a soft opening followed by the grand opening Saturday, August 16.

“We really wanted to give it a community feel,” Greg Crawford, director of Eagle Dining Services, said. “That’s one of the biggest things of Eagle Dining Services, we really wanted to create a community environment.”

Both dining halls have Iris Cameras at each entrance where students who are logged into the system can look the machine and receive a green light to go inside.

“The reason we are doing this is, especially during winter months, for health reasons. Everyone is grabbing their card, handing it over, germs get spread and here dining plans can’t be taken away,” Crawford said. “If somebody comes in and they don’t have one its not like they can take or borrow somebody else’s card.”

Georgia Southern University is the first university in the nation to use the Iris Cameras for a dining facility.

Along with the Iris Cameras, both dining facilities will be reducing their waste output with added sustainability features. Neither dining hall will have to-go options because there are no Styrofoam cups or containers, and instead of multiple dumpsters for each location there is now only one, Crawford said.

“I don’t see the harm in taking it with us,” Arika Cooper, junior business information systems, said. “It’s like going to a restaurant and paying for your food and not taking the leftovers.”

The dining facilities will not stay open 24/7 at first but will be able to if the need arises, Crawford said.

“I’d rather give and then take away,” Crawford said. “If this place is packed at 11 o’clock at night then we will reevaluate.”

Diners with special dietary needs will have their own food station in the Main Dining Commons known as ‘No Whey!,’ servicing dietary needs from vegan to vegetarian to gluten free.

“We have a nutritional coordinator and she meets with different individuals with dietary needs and they meet with the chefs and we make sure that their diet is where it needs to be so they feel safe dining with us,” Crawford said.

Lakeside Dining Commons will officially open today at 9 a.m.

Crawford said, “I just feel like we have grown so much and we are at the point that we can service the students how we wanted to be able to service them and now that we have these state-of-the-art facilities it’s going to be fun.”