Dominican Center
The Dominican Center. (photo by Lee Ferris, Mount Saint Mary College)

by Brittany Ambrosino

If you have taken a look inside Hudson Hall, you might have noticed some recent changes. One of these changes is the addition of the new Hudson lounge on the ground floor, which you should definitely check out. If you go upstairs and venture past Student Activities, you also may have noticed the relocation of the Smart Market to the Dominican Center.

The Smart Market has previously been located right next to Henry’s Courtside as a central location for all students on campus. The Smart Market is a grab-and-go place for students and staff to get quick lunches, snacks, and essential needs they may be running out of such as tooth paste, Advil, or shampoo.

The new location of the Smart Market is perfect for the students living in the Dominican Center, as well as the freshmen boys in Guzman, since it is relatively close. Freshmen girls in Sakac and the majority of upperclassmen living in the College Courts, however, are now inconvenienced with the new location and students are starting to speak out about it.

Junior Christina Cerutti told us, “I like the fact that it’s in the Dominican Center, but they should’ve kept the one in Hudson. It’s extremely inconvenient to have just one.”

Sophomore Colleen Thornton said, “I think it’s inconvenient that they didn’t tell us that it was being moved; it would’ve been nice to have a heads up.”

Breanna Scott, a junior, told us “I don’t mind the Smart Market being in the Dominican Center because when I use the library for long periods of time, I get hungry. So instead of walking all the way down to the View or Henry’s for food, I can just walk downstairs.”

 

So why did this change happen? Mount Messenger spoke with Michael O’Keefe, the Executive Director of Operations and Security at Mount Saint Mary College, to get the full picture:

Mount Messenger: What was the original dining service plan for the Dominican Center and why did it not end up happening?

Michael O’Keefe: As the college began planning for the renovation of the Dominican Center (DC) more than two years ago, we thought it was important to include a dining space in the building to meet the future needs of the college as we grow in physical size and student population.  The dining area on the first floor was the space that was developed, but it was never developed to replace the View. It simply is not big enough to do that. When we looked at options for the DC space we felt that the Food-on-Demand (FOD) program was the plan that best fit our campus. FOD is a program where people select a meal and sides from a kiosk and the food is cooked to order. As we worked through the details of the program and offering, and took into account the student population, we began to see that in order to minimize cost increases to students that the FOD program was not viable for this year. We did feel, however, that enhancing the dining/retail space in the DC was something that we should do.

 

MM: Is there a chance that the “made-to-order” type service will eventually take place in the Dominican Center?

MO: As we look to the future there is a chance that a made-to-order type service will happen in the DC. Sodexo is working on a specialty dining event at the DC for later this semester, so perhaps that will be a preview of things to come.

 

MM: Why was the Smart Market moved from Hudson Hall to the Dominican Center?

MO: We moved the Smart Market from Hudson Hall to the Dominican Center to enhance the offerings in the DC and to provide additional seating space in Hudson Hall. As you know, at peak times Henry’s can get very crowded and additional seating is very helpful. This year the Dominican Center is nearly full with resident students and our new freshman class only knows of the library in the DC. Hopefully, more students will head to the DC and use all of the available spaces (chapel, library, café/smart market…) and embrace the living-learning environment that has been created.

 

MM: Is there a chance that another type of Smart Market would end up in Hudson Hall again?

MO: The college is in the midst of developing its next five-year strategic plan and one preliminary goal is to provide a dedicated space as a student center. Many people believe that Hudson Hall is the right place for the student center. As those plans develop it makes sense to look at the dining, food, and retail space in Hudson and to plan for improved services which could include a smart market type location. When the Smart Market moved from Hudson to the DC, Sodexo kept many of the offerings at Henry’s to maintain as much continuity as possible. The biggest request was to keep coffee and tea in Hudson Hall, which was accomplished.

 

Whether you regularly use the Smart Market or not, we will just have to wait and see what the future holds for dining opportunities on campus.