Sam Misa, Photographer
Oregon State University provides seasonal dining options, special events and food accessibility resources for students to enjoy as the time to gather and celebrate around a meal nears.
As the colder months and various seasonal celebrations approach, University Housing and Dining Services plans to offer a slew of options to keep students nourished and festive this fall.
Classic fall flavors such as pumpkin spice and cinnamon roll lattes can be found in campus cafes all fall term long with even more offerings entering the rotation in November.
Lisa Narrow, assistant director of dining and university catering at OSU, said students can expect to see their favorite fall food options such as apple pie, roasted butternut squash, soups and chilis featured on the menu of all dining locations this month.
Aside from satisfying the fall flavor kick all month long, UHDS plans to offer special thanksgiving themed meals in each main dining center on campus.
Marketplace West and McNary dining halls will offer a themed dinner or lunch the Thursday before Thanksgiving while Arnold dining on the south side of campus plans to offer a traditional Thanksgiving dinner on the day of Nov. 25.
These meals will include an entree and sides for $13.25, however, on-campus dining plan users can expect to pay $10.60 and Orange Cash users will pay $11.86 thanks to the standard 20% and 10% applied discounts respectively.
While understaffing has kept many dining centers and options closed in the beginning of fall term, Michael Meeker, the food and beverage manager at Arnold Dining Center, is excited to bring more options to students.
“It’s just an unprecedented, weird time for the restaurant industry… every day looks better and we are excited for getting some options we have wanted to provide earlier out there,” Meeker said.
UHDS plans to bring more than just fall flavors to campus, wanting also to reintroduce events for students to celebrate the holidays.
Students can expect to see events similar to the pumpkin carving and painting that was hosted in October in both Marketplace West and McNary dining halls. Later in December, Narrow said she hopes gingerbread house making will return to Arnold dining center.
Even the Starship food delivery robots are getting in on the seasonal spirit, but the specifics are kept a surprise for students to find out for themselves as the holidays get closer.
The dining halls are not the only places where students can satisfy their needs for festive food options—the Human Services Resource Center is also hosting programs such as Healthy Beaver Bags for students.
The Healthy Beaver Bag program started during the pandemic and has continued into this year with the goal of providing students with cooking instructions and fresh produce as another accessible option besides the food pantry.
“In November we try to really feature some of the fall vegetables that are available in the community and develop our Beaver Bags around that,” said Emily Faltesek, the food security programs manager at the HSRC.
The HSRC’s programming, largely student run, is expected to change with the school year to fit students’ wants and needs.
“We plan to do some festive Beaver Bags, we usually try to do something fun towards winter break… to celebrate the end of the term, not something specifically holiday related… maybe even something like baking,” Faltesek said.
Within the greater Corvallis community, resources to find food are in limbo as programs find ways to return to safe, face-to-face operations.
If in hardship, students and community members can still rely on a free Thanksgiving day meal through Stone Soup, a local food support organization.
Both the HSRC and UHDS plan to post real time updates on their social media pages to keep students updated on seasonal offerings and all things festive in the coming months.