Making the Most of the Dining Hall

Jasmin Coates
Class of: 

There are many things to be considered when it comes down to choosing which university you want to call home for the next four years. Between the “freshman 15” myth and contemplating how you are going to live without your favorite meals from home, food can be a deciding factor. After learning about the many dining options and various meal plans offered to me as a St. Lawrence student, my first thought was: “Well, how is the food?" Considered among 2,000 colleges, St. Lawrence was named one of the best colleges for food in America by The Daily Meal. Dana, a buffet-style dining hall, is the main eatery on campus and enables students to make the best of their meal plan through their theme dinners, to-go trays, and much more! Here are some of the ways to make the best of our dining hall. 

1.       Utilize the To-Go Option

Implemented as an effort to reduce the waste of plastic, the to-go trays at Dana allow students to take out food from the dining hall. The new green containers are returnable and cleaned for reuse. This innovative campaign is not only sustainable. but convenient as it enables flexibility in a student’s eating schedule.  

2.       Go to Theme Dinners

Throughout the year, Dana hosts several theme dinners that feature specialty menu items that are unique to that dinner. At this year's’ Super Bowl Dinner, the dining hall set out an array of dipping sauces, nachos, five wing flavors, and then some! Another popular theme dinner is based on the Adirondacks and takes place outdoors with food served in canoes. Additionally, we are spoiled with two Thanksgiving themed dinners as we also celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving.

3.       Check in on the Holidays!

Whether it be special decorations for Halloween or chocolate fondue for Valentine’s Day, Dana’s team are well spirited around the holidays. They make an effort to celebrate with us through added décor and distinct menu items.

4.       Send in a Recipe from Home

What’s your favorite recipe from home?  It may be a traditional family recipe or one specific to your culture, but I am sure something comes to mind.  Home cooking and those special recipes make eating away from home that much harder. As early as 1987, students had the option to submit a recipe from home to the dining hall.  The form is simple and can be submitted online. After reviewing the recipe, dining services cooks and serves the meal in the dining hall. They even title the recipe whichever name you prefer to use (i.e. Joe’s Family Casserole). If the students respond well to the dish, the recipe is added to Dana’s menu.

You can find the form here:

5.       DIY: Make Your Own Smoothies, Waffles, and Omelets!

The weekends are for sleeping in and Dana Brunch. Aside from the awesome breakfast- lunch menu combo, brunch allows a little more leeway in personalizing your food. At the made-to-order omelet station in Dana, students line up to have an omelet cooked according to the type of toppings, eggs, and cheese (or no cheese) they desire. In addition, there are stations to make your own smoothies and waffles. Typically, there is the basic waffle batter available at the waffle station. Some days or seasons, blueberry wheat and pumpkin spice batter is also available. And yes, they are as yummy as they sound.

6.       Look Out for Specials!

Throughout the week, Dana has nights dedicated to certain cuisines. There is pasta sauté, stir-fry, taco night, and the occasional breakfast for dinner. It doesn’t stop at dinner, either! They also have Chicken Tender Day during lunch and Sundae Sunday to end the weekend on a high note.

7.       Eat Locally and Organically

Among other items, all of our honey, maple syrup, shell eggs, milk, yogurt, and some cheeses are purchased locally. Dana also offers some organic foods.

Eating food in college doesn’t have to be time-consuming, unhealthy, or limiting. Dana has made great strides in catering to the needs and wants of our students. Moreover, they continuously work to acknowledge and accommodate to the feedback of the students with surveys. Make the best of your college experience by not settling - especially when it comes to food.  Share one of your favorite recipes, try something new, or experiment with your diet. I hope that this guide was helpful to you (and your appetite) in some way.