New year brings new changes to campus dining services

Austin Loukas

Shawn Carey, Staff Writer

Rifkin Café may look a little different, that is because it is. The café has undergone a renovation and it has everyone noticing.

A recent remodeling over the summer included tearing down the walls that separated the game room on one side and the lounge on the other, and turning it into one big space for students to study, eat or hangout.

“I think it came out awesome!” Procurement director Justin Kraynack said. “It now gives a nice flow from one to the other.”

Administrators are not the only ones noticing the new changes. Students have also noticed and commented on the renovations. Sophomore Criminology major Tiffany Spencer commented on the project, “I think the renovations look great! It has really opened up the first floor of Rifkin and lets the students interact more with each other.”

The process to renovate the area began about twelve months ago. The Food Committee started planning the renovation of Rifkin Cafe and also discussed renovating Colonel Gambini’s Café. Then in January of this year, they began discussions with the Student Activities Committee of Student Government. The idea for what is in place today did not actually happen until the end stages of the planning.

“It was roughly $200,000 for the whole project,” Vice President of Finance and General Counsel Loren Prescott said. “It evolved into this idea of one interconnected space to encourage students to move between the café and the game room and the lounge.”

Kraynack said there were two goals in mind with the renovation project. The first goal was to give Rifkin a nice face lift. The second was to finish the renovations to the Student Union Building that were already begun, starting with the second and third floors to give a new feel to the SUB. Kraynack said new flooring to the café to finish the project.

Food Service General Manager Ron Williams also approved of the renovations.

“I think it looks great, it’s opened up so much,” Williams said. “It is a completely different environment down there.”

With the new renovations to Rifkin Café, Late Night dining services have also moved to the newly renovated café. Late night dining used to be on the third floor cafeteria but has moved to the brand new Rifkin Café. Students are now able to hang out with friends and satisfy that late night craving from a long day of studying.

Also new to the food service is a program for the students and local businesses. Beginning this year, students are now able to use their dining flex dollars off campus at local restaurants. Flex dollars are now being accepted at Subway, Sheetz and Maer’s BBQ to name a few.

  “It is something that students and businesses have asked for years, most extensively in the past five years,” Kraynack said. There is no doubt students are thrilled with the new dining updates.