On March 2, 2010, Michael Lindner, director of Housing and Food Services at Penn State Erie the Behrend College, got the call that no foodservice administrator wants to get: there was a fire at Dobbins Hall, the main campus dining facility. “I was in State College for training when it happened,” he said. “It was about 11:30 at night and it was a quick 3-and-a-half-hour drive back home to Erie with a lot of thoughts racing through my mind as to what we were going to do next.”
The official report said that the fire was accidental and triggered by a surge protector. “At the time of the fire, the building was undergoing renovation,” said Lindner. “We were in the midst of a full renovation to the operation. We had a temporary entryway into the dining room. We set up a cashier stand in that area and they think that one of the surge protectors for the point-of-sale equipment failed and shorted out and caught the carpet on fire.”
When the Compton Union Building (CUB) at Washington State University in Pullman was renovated in 2008, one space was left undeveloped because there was indecision as to what type of operation would be the right fit.
To find what would be that right fit, they spoke to the students. “We wanted to know what the students wanted,” said Katie MacArthur, graduate assistant, Union Marketing Services. “Each year we do a Spring survey where we ask questions about the building and the vendors in the building. We asked them what they wanted to see in there. Things like, 'If you could choose a vendor, what would it be?' We also talked to the students on Facebook and asked some questions. We got a lot of responses as to what they would like to see in the building. Overwhelmingly, they asked for a market that offers both healthy options, fruits and vegetables and also snacks they can get later at night or early in the morning.”