By Collin Atwood
This year has been full of changes. Unfortunately, most of those changes have been bad.
Springfield College would like to fix that.
The College has changed its dining experience by partnering with the Harvest Table Culinary Group to create better, healthier dining options for the campus community.
Harvest table is a separate brand that branches from Aramark — the dining service that has been running Springfield College’s dining program for years. Harvest Table is bringing a whole new mindset to campus with their “food first” philosophy.
Among the improvements, here is what stands out.
New options in Cheney Hall
There are many new and exciting food options coming to Cheney this fall. The Harvest Table Culinary Group will be adding a deli, an enhanced breakfast bar, a smoothie bar, a salad bar, a True Balance allergen-friendly area and much more.
All of these new additions are meant to give Springfield College students healthier food choices for their daily meals.
“We’re very focused on additive free, locally sourced, made from scratch and less frozen,” Hannah Howard, the Guest Experience Manager for the Harvest Table Culinary Group, said.
Healthier options does not mean all of your favorite foods will be replaced.
“You’re still going to be able to get whatever you want, but it’s just going to be better quality,” Howard said.
Some other new additions in Cheney Hall include new farm tables, nitro cold brew, coffee on tap and the Chobani Creations yogurt bar.
Upgrades in Cheney Hall
Food isn’t the only thing being added to Cheney Hall this upcoming semester. Harvest Table is making some upgrades to the service as well.
One of the additions to Cheney will be the 15 new monitors added around the cafeteria. Each monitor will have the menu for the day on it.
“The cool thing about the menus now is that they link to our website,” Howard said.
There are some very convenient features on this website, including the dietary filter feature. For students with food allergies or dietary restrictions, the website allows them to filter out the foods they cannot eat.
Students will also be able to see what will be open on campus during any time of the day, and view the menu weeks in advance.
Although the menus are already made, they are not set in stone. The Harvest Table Culinary Group also created a feedback system to hear students directly.
Named the Napkin Talk Wall, students can write on a napkin what they want to see on the upcoming menu, questions, or interesting ideas they might have and post them on the wall. The Harvest Table team will respond within 24 hours with an exact answer.
The “GET” App
The GET app is a food service application that students will use to get food from the Union this fall.
“That’s the only way that you can get food from the Union,” Howard said. “It’ll be mobile ordering and all pick-up and I think that’ll probably last for a while.”
Students can connect their meal swipes, dining dollars and Pride Dollars right to the GET app.
Marketplace at the Union
What was formerly known as the P.O.D. has now been changed to Marketplace at the Union. The food options in the Marketplace are very similar.
“We kept some of the older products that were there, but then we added more local brands…it’s a good balance,” Howard stated.
COVID-19 related changes in Cheney Hall
Of course, the obvious changes that need to be made to allow for social distancing during the pandemic can’t be ignored. Harvest Table is very prepared for these changes.
In Cheney, students will be expected to follow the arrows on the floor to direct the flow of traffic which will help keep everyone from creating clustered groups.
When it comes to seating, tables will be spread apart and there will only be six people allowed to sit at a table.
Fortunately, this means students will still be able to dine-in at Cheney. There will also be an option for students to use a card swipe for a to-go meal.
“Our whole philosophy is being food driven and telling a story through food,” Howard said.
For more information, students can visit dining.springfield.edu.
Featured Photo: Springfield College