students getting food in newly renovated d-hall

A big bite: Renovated D-Hall modernizes food choices

August 29, 2022

Campus Life

Recognizing that food fuels healthy minds, the main serving area in Heilman Dining Center has been upgraded for the first time since 2006 to meet student’s evolving needs and changing tastes.

Stations were updated and rebranded and a new location was added for special diets.

“Students have sophisticated palates now and more interest in healthy options,” said Terry Baker, the executive director of dining services. “Our dining teams across the University do a lot of research and hold focus groups each year in planning for the future and adjusting the menus based on our students' wants and suggestions.”

Dining services updated a pizza and pasta area into a space called “Herb & Olive” that will include more Mediterranean foods. “Wander” is the name of the upgraded global cuisine station with a large Mongolian-style grill where many of the dishes will be made from suggestions from international students. And a new area called “Plant Life” features exclusively vegetarian and vegan food. 

For students who need special diet meals, “Fare” will provide them with up to three meals a day.

“Some students with food allergies may need individualized help with making sure their food is safe to eat,” Baker said. “Students who have received diet accommodations through the Office of Disability Services contact our dieticians to have meals prepared for them at the station by our special diets cook to ensure that their food is free from the allergens that they have to avoid.”

Other upgrades to the serving areas included new lighting, counter tops, and video menu boards, which display dietary icons that can also help students navigate food allergies.

The Princeton Review recently ranked Richmond at No. 9 among all universities in the country for best campus food. 

“Food is foundational to our well-being,” said David Hale, executive vice president and chief operating officer. “And not just for our physical health. Gathering for meals is one of our greatest opportunities to share ideas, grow to understand one another, and foster a community of belonging. The Heilman Dining Center and all of our food service locations are central to the University's residential education mission.”