Indiana University has taken a different approach when designing its newest cafeteria — the Restaurants at Woodland in the Forest Residence Center.
Prior to September of 2013, the dorm located in IU’s southeast neighborhood did not have a dining hall. Now with the Woodland, students in that part of campus are able to choose from nine micro-restaurants that include ethnic food, salad and soup bars, frozen yogurt and even a Starbucks location.
Ingrid Weiss has worked at the Woodland since it opened. After working at different cafeterias, she says Woodland provides a new look at dorm food. “Woodland has more options, and more high quality food, the chefs cater towards the taste and give students options including vegan,” she says.
Freshman basketball player Nate Ritchie appreciates the variety of nutritional options at Woodland. “Being an athlete, Woodland offers the healthy food I need on a daily basis to keep me in shape for competition.”
“A cafeteria generally brings to mind elementary school lunch, maybe sub-par quality, and a stale atmosphere,” says Chris Frank, Marketing Manager of Dining at Indiana University. “What we were creating was something new and different.”
Planners put thought into the atmosphere of Woodland in the hopes that it would become a destination for students to eat, study and just hang out. For example, students won’t have a problem finding an open electrical outlet — they’re all over the Woodland!
“We believe this adds a great deal of enjoyment to the day of a student and therefore facilitates the overall educational experience that happens at IU,” says Frank.
Max Price is a first year student. He says what sets Woodland apart from other cafeterias on campus is the space. “The nice seating they provide, rather than the cafeteria-style seating, makes my dining experience overall better.”