The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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How much food do the EIU dining halls order?

Mackenzie Fehrenbacher
Liam Corcoran sophomore, elementary education major and Ella Wang freshman Undecided. Eating in South Quad Dining Thursday afternoon

A “self-standing auxiliary” is how Eastern’s Executive Director of University Housing and Dining Services Mark Hudson described the dining halls on campus. 

According to Christopher Coffey, associate director of housing and dining for panther dining and the food court, last semester dining services bought 

  • 326 cases of chicken wings 
  • 272 cases of chicken tenders homestyle 
  • 146 cases of hamburgers 
  • 58 cases of shrimp 
  • About 1,000 pounds of beef fajita meat 

Most of the money that the dining hall spends, food wise, is on chicken because of the different ways it is served, Hudson said. 15 different kinds of chicken are bought. 

The dining halls are paid for primarily by the people who utilize the dining halls, which are primarily students, but there are still expenses and dues that housing and dining services must pay. 

Hudson said that housing and dining spends over $5 million annually on utilities and over $3 million annually on groceries. 

The way that the food is purchased is “quite the impressive process,” said Hudson. 

Gordon Food Service is a grocery supplier with whom Eastern has a master contract with. 

“So, like four times a week, we’re placing an order online of what we need for those two days that the order is serving,” Hudson said. “I think three days a week, sometimes four, their trucks will come on to campus, go to each of our dining centers and our staff unloads all those trucks and puts them in freezers, refrigerators.” 

Recently, the dining halls in Taylor Hall and Thomas Hall consolidated into one area. Hudson said that decision was made because students’ resources were not being used as efficiently as needed. 

The change happened when enrollment was slowing down at Eastern. 

“Occupancy has slowed; there wasn’t a need for two serving centers in the South Quad,” Hudson said. “Because just to serve the very basic stuff, you have to have at least a baseline number of staff, and I knew that we could consolidate that into one center; consolidate our staff and offer more variety in one location.” 

Hudson said that the change has been for the better and has heard positive feedback. 

The consolidation also allowed for housing and dining services to save money. 

It has saved several hundreds of thousands annually, said Hudson. The money that was saved was put back into the center and was used for serving stations and cosmetic additions. Hudson said they are halfway through the process, and there is more to come during the upcoming summer. 

Included in those changes are new carpets and floors. Hudson said he also plans on having all the colors match for aesthetic purposes. 

“We’re always looking for additional recipes. We’re looking for, if we need to buy any, additional equipment that will help students have as good of experience as possible when they eat in those dining centers,” Hudson said. 

One of the favorites amongst Eastern’s students was the grilled cheese and tomato soup, according to Hudson. Another favorite is the make-your-own-pizza station that is in the South Quad. 


Audra Gullquist contributed to this story.


Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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About the Contributors
Cam'ron Hardy, News Editor
Cam'ron is a junior journalism major. He previously served news editor and campus editor at The News. 
Mackenzie Fehrenbacher, Photographer
Mackenzie Fahrenbacher is a sophomore public relations major. This is her first year at The News. 

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