On-Campus Cafe on Track for August Grand Opening
By Eric Breier
Cal State San Marcos’ much-anticipated on-campus dining cafe was among countless projects and plans upended in spring 2020.
Despite the unexpected delay, the newly named Campus Way Cafe is back on track. Construction began Feb. 21 on the 8,000-square-foot facility located on the first floor of The QUAD, putting it right on schedule to open in time for the fall 2022 semester.
“For us at Cal State San Marcos, it has always been about serving our community,” CSUSM President Ellen Neufeldt said. “This new dining cafe is an important part of a thriving campus. Not only will the cafe be vital for our first-year students as they get acclimated to college life and living on their own, but it will be another place on campus for our students, faculty and staff to gather and share a sense of community.”
The Campus Way Cafe will have indoor and outdoor seating for about 300 people. Overseen by CSUSM Corporation and operated by Sodexo, which manages food services on campus, the cafe will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner five days a week, brunch and dinner on the weekends, and will be open to students, faculty, staff, guests and the San Marcos community.
“We are very excited to be a part of the new Campus Way Cafe,” said Yanai Yanez, general manager of CSUSM Sodexo. “This really represents a chance for us to deliver a great dining experience to students, faculty, staff and the local community.”
The cafe will be all-you-care-to-eat with a wide variety of options that include rotating menus and specials. The expanded food offerings will include vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, to-go options, a grill, a deli, and pasta, pizza and salad stations. There will also be opportunities to host events, gatherings and cooking classes within the facility.
“Our specialty is bringing clean, fresh flavors and local foods to folks where they live and work, and we can’t wait to share that with everyone at CSUSM this fall,” Yanez said.
There are meal plan options to serve all needs, ranging in cost from $350-$2,368 per semester, with some plans as low as $7.19 per meal. Meal plans are optional for residents of The QUAD and University Village Apartments and will be mandatory for residents of the new North Commons building, also opening in fall 2022. Unlike The QUAD and UVA, North Commons won’t have kitchens within the units, so the new dining cafe will serve as the campus dining room for those students (a detailed list of dining FAQs is available at this webpage).
“I am so excited for the opening of the dining hall,” said Madeline Reagan, a CSUSM Housing resident advisor. “Having the option of accessing fresh, warm food is equally as exciting as being able to meet up with friends and chat over a nice meal or a quick snack.”
Students who live off campus are also eligible to purchase a meal plan, and walk-in purchases will be available to those who don’t have a meal plan (walk-in prices will vary based on meal time).
“Adding a dining hall to CSUSM will not only enhance the college experience, but it will also be a reliable place where students can go for food, socialize and even relax and do homework,” said Kelsey Forrester, a member of the women’s basketball team.
“I believe as student-athletes we are all excited and very grateful the university is providing us options to further support us on and off the field,” added Corbin Thaete, a men’s soccer player. “Throughout this process, they have listened to and exceeded our needs to be successful athletes.”
International students are also excited about Campus Way Cafe.
“A dining hall can save a lot of time for international students,” said Abdullah Ikram, who is part of the Global UGRAD Pakistan program. “It can be a great option for exchange students and freshman-year international students who aren’t too familiar with host community and eating options.”
Janelle Temnick, manager of Auxiliary Services for CSUSM Corporation, noted additional benefits of Campus Way Cafe. In addition to bringing more on-campus employment opportunities for students, it will provide students with a safe and comfortable extension of their home for healthy, affordable, well-balanced meals.
“Campus dining fosters community growth,” Temnick said. “It enhances the quality of campus life and contributes to the social components by providing additional space for meetings with faculty and other students.
Temnick said the CSUSM Corporation, an auxiliary organization of CSUSM, began having conversations with ASI leadership in 2016 regarding dining opportunities.
“We knew as the campus grew and the needs of students changed, our community would be looking for additional dining options,” Temnick said. “A project like this can be complex as we want to ensure that all voices are heard and that ultimately we are providing a service that serves all our students, faculty and staff. I’m really excited that we’re finally at the point of opening this new dining concept.”
A dining and housing survey was sent to a random sample of students on Feb. 28. All students, faculty and staff are also welcome to participate in the survey at this link.
Eric Breier, Public Affairs Specialist
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