SFU Residence Dining Hall continues operating during the pandemic

A cashless payment method and move to take-out exclusively have been implemented

Photo courtesy of SFU Dining Services

Written by: Paige Riding, News Writer

Located directly beside the Residence and Housing buildings on Burnaby campus, the Dining Hall feeds all students on meal plans and those in the Towers who do not have access to a kitchen. As an essential service, those in charge of the food service have made changes to how the building — normally a cafeteria-style eatery offering eat-in only — operates. 

The Peak reached out to various staff that make the Dining Hall run smoothly to answer some questions on what has changed due to new restrictions.

“Dining Hall has continued to provide meals to students in residences and the campus community on a daily basis throughout the pandemic,” explained Dan Traviss, the Director of Dining Services, in an email.

“Dining Hall is now cashless, with social distancing and enhanced safety and sanitation measures in place. Dining Hall continues to offer a variety of food options including chef-inspired exhibition cooking and special theme meals.” 

The email noted that Dining Hall offers take-out service only, with food being prepared and served by dining staff, as opposed to their previous buffet style. 

In such a precarious time, those feeding the residents at SFU have worked together to alleviate some stress around food for students and the SFU community. Manager of Marketing and Sustainability of SFU’s Ancillary Services Taylor Assion elaborated on one of these efforts coordinated with Ancillary Services, the Student Experience Initiative, Residence and Housing, and the SFU Office of Community Engagement.

These groups “launched a food security program to support students in Burnaby and Vancouver residences experiencing food insecurity as a result of COVID-19 challenges over the term break,” said Assion via email. 

“The food security program, which ran until the end of the Spring 2020 exam period, [provided] three meals per week at zero-cost to students through Dining Hall on Burnaby campus or at Nemesis Coffee in Gastown for students living in the Charles Chang Innovation Centre.”

Kelly Contreras, Resident District Manager of SFU Dining, elaborated on the impact the pandemic has had on the SFU community and those working at the dining services at the university.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the student community and on our dining services on campus. Our first priority is and has always been the safety of all students and our associates,” Contreras began.

Contreras also noted that as a result of the SFU Dining Hall staying open throughout the pandemic, many of their associates were able to remain employed. 

Contreras said that with the new school year, full-service and take-out as well as social distancing precautions will continue to be enforced. They will “continue to work with the provincial and federal governments” through the next school year.

“SFU Dining is committed to the health and wellbeing of our associates,” said Contreras.