Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Recent modifications to Hilltop Café enhance on-campus dining experience for students

By student public relations writer Leah Sternberger

Hungry OU-C students as well as other campus members are experiencing new palate-pleasing changes at the Hilltop Café this semester. The upgrades were implemented to provide a more student-focused menu and payment option.

“We wanted to adapt to our students and revamp our menu for the fall semester,” said Ohio University General Manager, Retail Operations Christopher Schmitt. 

“Customer service is always our main focus within Auxiliaries. We review sales on a weekly basis to determine which items are popular and which items need modified. We always encourage student feedback because we are here to provide services for our students.”

Based on student feedback and sales data, the Hilltop Café cooked up some fresh new ideas. This semester the Hilltop Café discontinued its pizza offerings due to low sales volume and instead added a burrito bar. “Our fresh Mex concept is very similar to Chipotle. We wanted to provide fresh ingredients at a reasonable price for our students,” Schmitt said.

Also new for fall, for the first time ever, students can pay with Bobcat Cash for their meal at the Hilltop Cafe.

“Bobcat Cash is new to all of our regional campuses, Schmitt said.  “It is money that is put on deposit with the University so that students can use their OHIO ID card like a prepaid debit card to purchase goods and services, such as food at campus dining venues.”

Bobcat Cash is a convenient alternative to using cash or credit cards and can be used at any Ohio University culinary facility.

In addition to the new Fresh Mex offering, the Hilltop Café serves deli sandwiches, customized salads, homemade soups, Starbucks coffee and Fresh Take grab-and-go items.

The changes to the Hilltop Café this semester are part of its larger mission to ensure OU-C students continue to have wholesome, convenient and delicious food choices.

“We want to provide students with their favorite foods, at competitive prices, without leaving campus,” Schmitt said.

The Hilltop Café is located in the Stevenson Center Learning Commons area and serves an important role in fostering a sense of community on campus. As a commuter campus, OU-C does not have residence halls, and it is important that students have a comfortable place to study, hang out with friends and grab something to eat between classes. The Learning Commons has become a hub of campus activity, and the café adds to the casual, yet practical, environment.

By offering well-rounded food offerings that are tailored to the students’ tastes and busy schedules, the Hilltop Café allows students to remain on campus and make the most of their time. Many OU-C learners are balancing academics with job and family responsibilities, and this type of student-focused approach makes the most efficient use of their sometimes hectic schedules.

Recent diners Casey Thompson and Tracey Robinette, a pair of OU-C nursing students from McArthur, mentioned that they eat at the café three or four days a week. “I like the fact I can get quality food at a reasonable price. It seems as if the café is designed for students,” Thompson said. 

“With the long commute, it is nice to not have to leave campus to get a meal,” Robinette said. “It allows me to have more time for studying so I have time for my family when I am home. Also, I enjoy the healthy snacks and the selection of food.”

OU-C social work program lauded by Ohio Senate for internship placements

The Ohio University-Chillicothe social work program was recently recognized with a certificate by the Ohio Senate for being honored as a 2015 Intergenerational Educator of the Year Award by Area Agency on Aging District 7.

According to the certificate, “The generous contributions of the Ohio University Chillicothe Campus Social Work Program have improved the lives of many, and it is only fitting that we commend the organization’s faculty and staff for their altruistic efforts to helping others. Every person involved with this fine program exemplifies integrity, and we applaud them as outstanding Ohioans.”

The Area Agency on Aging presented similar awards to nine university/college programs that assist with student placements that enrich the learning experience for students and give them perspective in real-life work environments.

“Our agency works in a variety of programs and settings and has worked consistently with students … at a number of our local higher education institutions,” community outreach and training manager Bonnie Dingess said. “This relationship has proven a win-win for both organizations. Obviously, the students are able to apply what they are learning to real-life experiences, and we also gain something from their being engrained in our culture for the time they are with us.”

“We chose the institutions, OU-C being one of them, that we have worked most consistently with student interns and placements throughout the years.”

Future students survey various higher education options during annual College Night event

Area high school students and their parents were able to explore the offerings of approximately 50 colleges and universities during the annual College Night event in the Shoemaker Center. Both the Chillicothe campus and Athens campus of Ohio University were among those represented at the event.

College Night offers individuals a convenient opportunity to visit with representatives of a range of college options and gain a perspective on where they want to pursue their college plans. Besides the various educational institutions, there were representatives of some branches of the Armed Forces and various scholarship and loan programs.

The event underscores the Chillicothe Campus’ commitment to serving as a gateway to higher education and the opportunities it presents for area residents.

Students share insights during ‘Dine with the Dean’ event

Chillicothe Campus students recently had the opportunity to break bread with Martin Tuck, campus dean, during the regular “Dine with the Dean” event. It offers an opportunity for students to drop by and discussion their campus experience and concerns with the dean. Occasions such as this allow for students to engage with campus leadership in a meaningful way and to continue an ongoing dialogue. Students continue to have the best perspective on the campus experience, and it is important to hear their collective voice.