Global Market Café moves into design phase, committee seeks student input on name

New global-inspired dining hall touts student-centric planning process

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Last semester, the planning committee for a forthcoming global-inspired dining hall hosted a feedback event consisting of several focus groups, revealing a strong interest in international food.

Roughly 1,300 students, faculty and staff participated in these focus groups. Participants expressed an interest in a variety of international cuisines including African, Caribbean, Latin, Indian and Asian.

The Global Market Café is set to open in 2020. The new eatery is in the third phase of UB’s Heart of the Campus initiative and will feature a variety of international menu options. The $12 million new dining hall will be built between Capen and Norton Hall. Students will be able to use meal swipes and Dining Dollars to purchase food at the new venue.

The focus group participants expressed an interest in group meeting spaces where students can convene with professors, TAs, study groups and friends.

Canon Architecture has submitted options for designs, and the steering committee for the project is now in the process of reviewing the designs while keeping the needs of students, faculty and staff in mind, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and director of the Global Market Café Project Graham Hammill said.

SA President Leslie Veloz is “excited and hopeful” about the new project, and lauds its commitment to involve students in the planning project.

“With the entire initiative, students have really been at the forefront, especially now with the new naming contest. It literally gives students the agency of deciding what the name will be for this new facility for years to come,” Veloz said.

Students can participate in the naming contest on UB’s website through Feb. 18. After students submit name ideas, the top five or six names will be posted and students will be able to vote on the name they like best between March 26 and April 1.

The first place winner will receive $500 in Dining Dollars in order to give students incentive to participate, Veloz said.

“The beauty of this project is it started with students in mind and it will end with students in mind,” Veloz said. “Not only have there been surveys and in-person forums where students could interact with contractors and administrators; student involvement will be integrated into every stage of the project.”

Once Canon drafts solid plans for a design, students, faculty and staff will be able to view the proposed design and provide input to the architects.

A key feature of the new dining hall is the “highly flexible” meal stations, according to Hammill. These stations will be able to accommodate different appliances like woks, gas lines and cooking surfaces. The stations will be set up so they can change as students’ tastes change and develop. The type of food being served can evolve with these ever-evolving preferences.

Veloz believes the proposed dining hall reflects the evolving dietary needs of students as the campus grows and becomes increasingly international.

“With our growing enrollment, we are seeing the needs of students change,” she said. “This is really a new opportunity to make sure we are serving everyone at UB.”

Maddy Fowler is the editorial editor and can be reached at maddy.fowler@ubspectrum.com or on Twitter @mmfowler13