Students offered a forum to improve campus dining

Committee allows students to offer meal suggestions for dining venues

UC Riverside students can now help shape the menus at campus dining venues as part of a new student dining committee.

Dining Services launched the Dining Advisory Committee last fall, inviting students to meet with department leaders and offer their opinions on what they like and suggestions on what they’d like to see at venues like the Glasgow and Lothian residential restaurants, and campus cafes like Ivan’s and Byte’s.

Inside UCR Author - Imran Ghori

There’s no formal membership. Students can sign up and join a meeting if they’re interested in offering input. They receive a free lunch for attending.

“Mainly, it’s to get feedback on what they think we can do better and answer questions they may have,” said, Cedric Martin, director of residential dining.

At the first meeting in December students offered suggestions including more East Asian and Korean dishes, weekly special dinners, and more vegetable options. Students also asked for more portable options so they can take food back to their rooms.

Martin said Dining Services leadership took that feedback and started putting together an action plan to implement suggestions.

At the winter quarter meeting on March 5 at a private dining room at Glasgow, he and other Dining Services managers discussed some of those changes as well as previewing new concepts that will be launching this year.

Those include plans for an ice cream store at the HUB food court and NOODS: The Noodle Bar at the Market at Glen Mor, which will open in April. NOODS will be open late at night and feature meals that students can take to go.

Rathan Raj, a graduate student in computer science attending the dining committee meeting, said he was excited to hear about the noodle bar.

“The convenient late-night food – that’s good for students,” he said. “At night, we just want to grab something for the hunger.”

Executive Chef Lanette Dickerson and other chefs were among those who attended the committee meetings. She said she finds it valuable to hear from students and noted that some of the most popular dishes they’ve introduced are ones that resonate with their cultures.

“There’s nowhere else you get to cover the globe in cuisines in a week,” she said.

Dickerson said the restaurants recently added bunny chow, a South African bread and curry dish, to their menu rotation and it always sells out. At the meeting, she noted how one student’s face lit up as she outlined plans for some upcoming Korean dishes.

“For me and our chefs, we’re here for the students,” she said.

Yuemeng Yang, a fourth-year business analytic student, who attended the March committee meeting, said she found it helpful to learn more about dining options. Yang said she dines at Glasgow with her husband and their two children a couple times a month due to the healthy and varied selections.

“I’m happy UCR Dining is listening to students’ opinions,” she said. “I liked this meeting. Everybody can share their opinion.”