Inside One World Café

One World Café steering committee discusses developments with upcoming market

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One World Café will become the “new front door” to North Campus, according to its steering committee.

The upcoming global cafe, featuring a “modern” design, will be three floors high with “alternating” food available on two of the floors and seating available on all three. 

The 50,000-square-foot white building, which is part of the Heart of the Campus initiative, will also be wheelchair accessible and the construction could cost UB roughly $20 million, according to the committee consisting of UB community members. Construction for the market will begin in fall 2019 and construction workers will block off Norton and Capen. The committee plans to introduce unique food options each semester to continue student interest for the market. Students will be able to use their meal swipes at the cafe.

Graham Hammill, vice provost for educational affairs and dean of the graduate school, was at first “hesitant” to make the building white but the committee decided to leave it white due to student concerns that North Campus is “a lot of brick.” 

Kelly Hayes McAlonie, director of Campus Planning and member of the One World Café steering committee, said the committee decided to respond to those concerns and create some “relief from the brown brick” and accentuate the “modern campus.”

Ronald C. Van Splunder, manager of architectural support, said the location’s construction will not interfere with foot traffic.

“Walkways that are affected by construction will be altered and redirected with clear routes and covered pathways,” Splunder said. “These will be fully accessible to all students, faculty and staff with disabilities.”

Although 1,300 students chose Mediterranean, Indian, Asian, Japanese and American food for the cafe, the steering committee said it will alternate cuisines each semester to keep it as diverse as possible. 

“These are just starting points, the intention of the campus dining is to actually rotate and change those out,” Van Splunder said. “We might have a Caribbean station in the near future, you know, something like South American.”

The committee said it will set the cafe up to reflect cultural changes in its atmosphere and food options.

The committee has reached out to a rabbi in New Jersey that will bless the food so students can have access to kosher food. The cafe also plans to serve halal, vegan and vegetarian food. 

Jeff Brady, executive director of Campus Dining & Shops, said they will price food “as competitively as possible,” as CDS looks at similar dishes off campus to ensure students are getting their money’s worth. 

Hayes McAlonie said CDS has no intention of competing with any of the existing food companies on campus. 

“We’re not anticipating any competition per se, we're just looking to satisfy the concern of long wait times,” Hayes McAlonie said.

The committee said its main focus is to satisfy UB students and provide a “flexible eating environment.” Hayes McAlonie said CDS hopes to constantly receive feedback from students.

Brady meets once a month with CDS’ student advisory board to get ideas. There are a wide range of undergraduate and graduate students on the board –– some have meal plans, some have block plans, some are commuters and the students range from freshmen to seniors. 

Hayes McAlonie said One World Café is the third and “most ambitious” phase of UB’s 2020 physical plan. The point of the plan is to set the two campuses apart, with South Campus being known as the professional and medical campus and North Campus being the undergraduate and research campus. 

“So the notion of each campus being different, but also having its own identity, but having similar experiences for students was very important in this comprehensive master plan.” said Hayes McAlonie.

The committee is “very excited” to present One World Café to the students.

“It's very rewarding to work on a project that will have the level of impact that we know it will have on the campus, but also that it will directly impact the students,” said Hayes McAlonie.

Alexandra Moyen is a staff writer and can be reached at news@ubspectrum.com