Dining on Campus: Safety and Changes

September 15, 2020

Binghamton University Dining Services (BUDS) maintains that the health and safety of our students and staff is our top priority, and we will continue to work to provide great services in these uncertain times. Over the past four months, we have developed a plan to feed over 3,000 meals an hour, in the middle of a pandemic. We have made necessary changes and reinvented our operational services to ensure that state and University guidelines are followed, and our students and staff are safe. These changes include serving all food in takeout containers, limiting menu options, implementing social distancing measures, installing contactless payment systems, limiting seating and increasing sanitation in all facilities.
Since our operations opened in August, we have observed that foot-traffic patterns are unlike what we anticipated. While we are still serving a large population, the hybrid class model has had a significant impact on the foot-traffic patterns we are used to, and our team has been responsive by making quick changes to better accommodate the campus community. We have adjusted our menu cycle to include more vegan and vegetarian options as well as to offer a variety of cost-effective menu items. In just a few days, we were able to revert to our former style of service at the entrée line, Kosher Korner and Simple Servings stations, allowing students to customize their meals for more flexibility in choices and portions. These service changes have been implemented based on feedback we have received from students and the Student Culinary Council, a team of students that advocates for students’ dining voices on and off campus. We are hoping that this change allows students to get meals that are more in line with what they need and prefer as well as continuing to allow for quick service that keeps us in compliance with safety guidelines.
Additionally, we are planning more changes that are likely to be implemented by the time this newsletter is published. We will be offering the convenience of online ordering at our retail locations through the mobile BITE app. Resident dining will be bringing back some popular snacking items that students have been missing. Lastly, a make-your-own salad option will be available offering student’s choices that allow for more customization.
As we continue to navigate through these unprecedented times, more changes will be made based on our ability to provide safe service to our students. At this time, we ask for your support — and appreciate your patience — as the BUDS team learns how to meet and exceed student expectations in this uncharted territory we are facing.