Shepler Dining Hall adapts to COVID-19
By Amanda King
As with many other student resources at CU, the Shepler Dining Hall has instituted some new modifications to adapt to life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sodexo Food Services is responsible for all food provisions on campus, including the Shepler Dining Hall and the McMahon Student Union.
All students living on-campus are required to sign up for a meal plan. Different meal plans are available depending on how many meals a student wants per week.
The Dining Hall now features additional hand sanitizers throughout the space, styrofoam cups and plastic silverware.
Furthermore, the cafeteria has added floor stickers and guardrails to direct food lines. According to Sodexo General Manager, Joseph Worrell, this is one of the most important modifications.
“That’s one of the biggest things,” Worrell said. “We wanted to make sure there was a smooth flow of traffic through the cafeteria as students going in and out.”
Worrell noted that another big change to the Shepler Dining Hall involves a transition from self-service on the buffet line to assisted serving.
“We always have someone attending the line,” Worrell said. “We also did some social distancing of our tables to make sure that we invite staff and students to feel comfortable and safe when they’re in here.”
Worrell also explained that the dining hall staff will not impose any new rules or regulations on students, as that falls under university jurisdiction.
“We are a contracted service,” Worrell said. “We allow the university to be able to set those expectations and we just try to make it as easy as possible for students.”
However, there are some cases wherein students ignore the new framework within the Shepler Dining Hall, including moving tables together or seating more than 10 people at one table. Despite the enrollment lull this semester, the cafeteria has not suffered.
While some students and staff have reached out about concerns, the Shepler Dining Hall remains populated.
Moreover, Worrell noted the cafeteria staff has also maintained the availability and amount of food served.
“We still push out the same amount of food,” Worrell said. “We try to still offer the same amount of options that you would find any other day at Cameron University.”
According to Resident Assistant Reagan Pyles, some of the changes to the Shepler Cafeteria are somewhat challenging. “The new hours are the hardest part for me,” Pyles said. “I am a full-time teaching assistant this semester and working as an RA, so it can be hard to make the mealtime hours especially dinner.”
Thankfully, according to Pyles, the cafeteria offers takeout boxes for RA’s while they are working at the Student Housing desk, but she does try to dine-in as much as possible.
However, aside from quarantine or isolation housing, there are no to-go options available for other students.
Worrell explained that this will encourage people to sit down and socialize.
Mealtimes for the Shepler Dining Hall are 7-9:30 a.m. for breakfast, 11 a.m-1 p.m. for lunch and 5-6:30 p.m. for dinner, Mon.-Thurs, as well as 10:30-1 p.m and 5-7 p.m. for brunch and dinner on Fri.-Sun.
To see cafeteria menus up to a week in advance, students can download Sodexo’s new cell phone app, “Bite.”
On the app, students can also find special features, vegetarian options and nutritional information.
For more information or any other questions, students can email Joseph Worrell at email@example.com or call 580-581-2387.
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