A group of hungry students and staff members filled the air on Thursday for the grand opening of Cougar Woods dining hall that not only represented the University’s efforts to create an environmentally friendly building, but also shifting the UH image from a commuter to a residential campus.
The dining hall has been available to students and staff since Oct. 1 and brings a new environment to those who come to eat, study or socialize.
It has been a vision for more than a year and half now and further helps UH to be recognized as a Tier One university.
“This building is another jewel in the crown that is the University and none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for all the supporters we’ve had for this project,” said Geoff Herbert, the resident district manager of UH Dining Services.
The Central Market atmosphere greets visitors as they walk in with a visual of assorted food and open spaces.
Different prizes were given out to students at the opening and Shasta made an appearance to top if off, showcasing UH spirit.
Student opinions were vocalized in unison regarding their experience at the dining hall.
“I like this place better than the (University Center),” said junior Kristie Uribe. “It seems to have a better opportunity for student interaction and I really like the atmosphere of the building.”
The grand opening projected the anticipation of those involved in preparations for the event and what it means to the University.
“We decided to celebrate the opening now to get the faculty and staff into the groove of the new place,” said Amber Arguijo, marketing coordinator of UH Dining Services. “The real opening usually brings in the crowd so we all wanted to be ready when the time came.”
Key contributors gave speeches outside the building that overlooks the new Xpress Mini Market and campus community garden — a place to appreciate the University’s green vision.
The occasion was not complete without a balloon artist who weaved his way through the crowd and entertained them with intricate art.
Students also gave experience feedback through their own artistic skills by painting on white banners called “My Sustainable Dining.” Their interpretations included pictures of flowers, food, gardens and sun.
The dining hall offers various options for breakfast, lunch and dinner to satisfy students.
“I know that hungry and grumpy students do not perform well,” said Bryan Haver, a student representative for the Food Service Advisory Committee. “The future of this University is a residential campus and this building is what can help with that.”