RALEIGH, N.C. — Saint Augustine’s University continues to make improvements to its infrastructure to help better the college experience for students. One of the more recent projects is renovation of the MLK building, which houses the dining hall and provides for a wide variety of social needs for students, . The project, which has been ongoing since 2021, includes better lighting, a more easily accessible restroom and a new theater.
The project also includes a new menu and, while some students continue to be displeased with the quality of food, everyone is at least content that construction is done and that the cafeteria has new food stations.
Aladdin Food Management Services has been catering to Saint Augustine for many years. According to the school’s website, Aladdin has been entertaining and feeding millions of people in schools, colleges, businesses, and health care facilities for 40 years.
SAU continues to make improvements not only to the MLK building, but to the dining website, which went from not having the school’s menu at all, to providing a fully loaded daily menu for the spring term of 2022.
Construction began after the closure of the university in spring 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students got their food from a tent on the outdoor basketball court while work proceeded, and many were unable to sit and congregate with their peers due to Covid protocols. But with the protocols loosening and the now spacious cafeteria, times are slowly reverting back to normal. Where ice cream is one of the newly added desserts to the menu, this has just been one of its many food improvements.
Kailah Forde, a freshman majoring in business said the food has improved. “I like the fact that we have different food and drink options, and my favorite improvement is that the cafeteria is finally open,” Forde said. Forde comes from a background of spices and seasonings, as she is from Barbados, but she has lived in the United States with her mother for some time. Forde enjoys Taco Tuesday, a taste she has picked up since living here n the United States.
La’tavia Braynen, an exercise science major and sophomore, said that the food has “kind of” improved, adding: “I like how the new salad bar has a variety of sandwiches and salads. I also like the hydration station which serves lemon and cucumber water along with tea and fruits.” Other students said they liked the improved lighting and spaciousness.
But there are some critics. Sophomore biology major Richara Bain said she loves the nacho chips and cheese sauce, however she added, “The food doesn’t have a good taste and most times I get the food, the chicken is undercooked.” Deandra Small, a senior exercise science major, also felt that food is sometimes undercooked.
Forde and Braynen had lots of good things to say about the food, but both shared the sentiments that they disliked that the options are a bit repetitive. Braynen stated, “My least favorite improvement would be the same old basic food options being served continuously week after week.” However both students enjoy the new stations, providing different food from various food groups to choose from.
Aladdin Food Management Services continues to work with SAU and its students in making their services better for students. To show their dedication and aims on continual improvement, as they have provided a survey on the dining website accessible to the public. The aim is to better understand campus lifestyle and preferences, as well as current experiences with the Dining Services. Their hope is to gain valuable insight by conducting the survey to help improve the overall campus dining experience.
— Tia Jones