Dishing up a NEW DINING EXPERIENCE for students

by | Mar 28, 2024 | In the Spotlight.

What’s ON THE Menu?

With Phase One complete, the modernization of the Campus Center continues. Up next: Phase Two and a new dining experience for Cardinals.

“We’re looking to make big changes to the dining experience – from the dining space to the kitchen layout and program offerings,” said Bill Fox, vice president for student affairs and Otterbein lead on this project. “We are exploring what we can do to make the Campus Center and the dining experience more inviting, more modern, and certainly a more meaningful space for our students and our community to dine, connect, relax, study, and make memories.”

An 18-member committee, which includes student leaders and Otterbein staff as well as external project architects and collaborators, meets regularly to share ideas and concerns, and discuss progress.

Some of the biggest changes on tap include creating a new open-concept dining experience with multiple stations featuring a variety of food options along with a complete overhaul of the dining room. “Whether it’s the memories students make around a big table or a quiet place to study in between classes, we want this space to be a destination for our students and campus,” Fox said.

Fox said the goal is to have a new dining experience ready for full use by January 2025.

Current Dining

Proposed Dining

The Dining Room Experience

  • Phase Two focuses on 9,500 square feet of the Campus Center to create an open, welcoming university destination to bring Cardinals together.
  • Fostering connection and community, the space will be flexible in its configurations to ensure a sense of comfort, whether hosting a small group or a full-capacity event.
  • A re-imagined 1847 Dining Room will offer unique space to accommodate from 12 to 40 people and enhanced event synergy in space that adjoins the Taylor Lounge.

The Flow

  • As important for efficiencies and reduced lines, the use of food stations will also allow students the chance to see the variety of what’s offered.
  • A variety of fixtures and furniture will create space that is aesthetically pleasing and warm while also meeting student use of space whether loud and happy meals with friends around a big table or a smaller table for quiet studying.
  • Grab-and-go features will respond to student preferences and schedules.

Nutrition and Clean Dining Options

  • Just as modernized space enhances efficiencies, it will reinvigorate the approach to student well-being.
  • Awareness of food sensitivities translates to amplified attention to food preparation, selection, and quality to mind dietary and allergen considerations as well as cultural sensitivities.

Back of House

  • The modernization of space will increase energy efficiencies and improve sustainability with improved building systems and new equipment.
  • The kitchen staff experience will be enhanced to further contribute to an improved student dining experience.

Blaine Bishop ’25, a senator for Student Government and member of its Dining Advisory Board, said he’s excited about the improved nutritional visibility. “A clear listing of ingredients will take out a lot of the guesswork for students,” he said. Bishop said students are also looking forward to the updated facilities. “It’s all going to feel comfortable and more home-like.”


As part of Phase Two, we’re creating a unique opportunity to showcase our Otterbein Legacy Families by giving these multi-generational families an opportunity to make a lasting impact. For more information, please contact Stephanie Clark, senior director of development, at or 614.823.1953.

“Every design question, every hope or idea for the new spaces, and every bit of investment is intended to improve the experience of our current and future students.”

–Bill Fox
Vice president for Student Affairs

More Stories


We are committed to opportunity. Learn more at


We've been launching great futures since 1847. Learn more at


Otterbein 175th Anniversary