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Students Vote on New Food Items for Next Year

Thursday, Mar. 06, 2014

Abbie Lewis at the annual Food Day at The Junction with samples

Abbie Lewis gave away a new item, raspberry dijon melts, for the Artist's Block Cafe. (Meghann Nixon photo from the USU Statesman Online)

The Student Life section of Utah State Today highlights work written by the talented student journalists at Utah State University. Each week, the editor selects a story that has been published in The Utah Statesman or the Hard News Café or both for inclusion in Utah State Today.

Students Vote on New Food Items for Next Year

By David Berg, staff writer, The Utah Statesman, Thursday, March 6, 2014

About 350 students participated in this year’s annual Food Day at The Junction on Wednesday night [March 5, 2014].

The event featured representation from USU Dining Services and from various regional food brokers. Students had the opportunity to see what the campus is already offering and what could be offered in next school year’s menu.

“This is a nice event for central campus students,” said Lindsay Wiltshire, The Junction’s customer service manager.

According to Wiltshire, the expected 350 students who participated was a normal number for dinner meal time. However, the event was unique because it allowed students to help choose food items that could be on next year’s menu. The students voted on the food they enjoyed after leaving the event.

One of the most popular were tamales brought by the food broker Advantage Waypoint. The tamales came in three variations: pork, chicken, and fire-roasted poblano and cheese.

“If there were these tamales on campus, I’d eat them all the time,” said Jaron Smith, a senior studying community health.

“It’s like real Mexican food instead of Utah Mexican food,” said Mallory Hunt, a freshman studying communication disorders.

According to Hunt, The Junction can become mundane when eating there for a whole school year. Events like this help change things up and keep it interesting.

“It’s a fun idea to get variations on the food we have, to show how The Junction can improve,” Hunt said.

The Food Day also featured other food brokers. Curtis Harris, the regional manager for General Mills, attended the event to encourage students to vote for General Mills breakfast cereals.

“It’s a crusade,” Harris said. “Our hope is to get a brand cereal into the school.”

Harris brought four cereals for students to try.

KeyImpact, another food brokerage, brought food items they hoped to introduce for fried food nights. They brought samples of spicy onion petals and white cheddar cheese curds. Several students enjoyed both options.

Cody Pitcher, the area manager for Pepsi, also attended. The company won the USU contract over Coca-Cola last semester, and Pitcher wanted to give away free soda. He distributed Pepsi’s four core drinks: Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Diet Mountain Dew.

“For us, tonight is about going back to the basics,” Pitcher said.

Representatives from different parts of USU Dining Services also attended the event. One of the student favorites was a booth run by Retail Dining. The group covers dining areas such as the Artist’s Block Cafe, located in the Chase Fine Arts Center, and Emma’s Nook, located in the Emma Eccles Jones Education Building.

“We are highlighting some of the areas and items that students might not know exist,” said Jamie Bradford, assistant director for Retail Dining.

Retail Dining brought pretzel bites from Emma’s Nook, raspberry dijon melts from the Artist’s Block Cafe, and smoothies from The Hub.

Aggie Ice Cream attended the event and served grilled cheese sandwiches featuring cheese from the USU Dairy. A few students were disappointed they didn’t bring ice cream.

Triple Beam Bakery, which is located inside The Junction, brought several baked goods including bagel bites, cookies, cupcakes, cake balls and cheesecake.

“It’s good to show students what’s on campus, a good way to experience them,” Smith said.

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