By BECCA TANNER
Kennesaw State University is relevant in various forms of media currently due to their rapidly growing student body and upcoming inaugural football season. However, there is another area in which Kennesaw State stands out and that is with food.
Out of nearly 2,000 four-year colleges, The Daily Meal named Kennesaw State fourth place on their “75 Best Colleges for Food in America” list in 2014. It compiled its list based on five main categories, Nutrition and Sustainability, Accessibility and Service, Education and Events, Surrounding Area & The “X” Factor. Kennesaw State University was preceded by Bowdoin College (first), John Hopkins University (second) and Columbia University (third).
Previously in 2013, KSU ranked eighth out of 60 and tenth out of 52 schools in 2012. It is clear that KSU is doing something right to be making such leaps into higher ranking spots each subsequent year.
The Commons, as its known to students here, is one of the prime landmarks of the academic campus. While it is currently the only dining hall on campus, this two-story structure manages to seat and feed thousands of students and faculty every day.
Students do not just come merely to eat but also to hang out and chat with friends over a slice of pizza, do a little bit of homework with the help of some coffee or perhaps even to work.
Cassandra Richardson is a student at Kennesaw State but she also works in the school’s dining hall as a Barista.
She said The Commons is special because “70 percent of the food we serve is locally grown and organic so it’s really healthy.”
One area that Kennesaw exceeds in is its ability to produce organic and locally grown foods. In May 2010, KSU began its Farm-to-Campus program, which brings food grown organically on a farm just outside Cartersville, Georgia, straight to The Commons. There are even miniature greenhouses inside the building that help grow their own greens organically.
In addition to being health conscious and sustainable the school’s dining hall is also big on variety. There are various options of cuisine such as burgers and fries from HWY 41, home-cooked-style meals from Apron Strings and daily-featured items from different parts of the world at Globe Trotters.
No matter what kind of appetite you have, The Commons caters to all preferences. In fact, there are over 100 different new and innovative dishes every day making each visit a different experience.
As for service and accessibility, The Common’s staff creates a very warm and inviting environment from the moment you “swipe in,” to the warm smiles from the baristas at The Grind located front and center, and throughout the entire walk through of the spacious grounds. The tables are always clean, ready for the next occupants and there are bussers in constant motion. The staff has individually contributed such great personal efforts into making the collegiate dining experience an enjoyable one at KSU and it is evident in the manner in which they go about their work.
It doesn’t stop here. Melissa McMahon was unavailable for comment, however she is in charge of marketing and such events for The Commons such as the Cram Jam, which is a food-fest for students one night after hours during finals week and Black and Gold dining, which serves dishes such as sirloin, lobster tail and even alligator once a month during dining hours.
Just like the university’s transformation into the third largest campus in the state, The Common’s is continuing to strive for the top spot. It may not seem like much to triumph over high-end schools such as Princeton, Duke and Harvard merely by having better food, but it does give way to many more advancements to come.