Changes to NMU Dining expected in fall semester

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Sam Rush/NW

Peter Smedley

Last spring, dining services at NMU were caught in a mad scramble to assess a daunting and unexpected situation due to COVID-19. With thousands to feed daily, and what seemed like moments to prepare for it, takeout options were implemented and became the only way to receive food through dining on campus.


For Nolan Drumm, a resident advisor in Magers Hall, the changes had been implemented remarkably well. Now, after months of preparation by NMU Dining Services, dining is currently taking a lot of safety precautions, said Drumm. While he misses being able to sit down and eat, Drumm believes dining is doing the best they can do.


“Everyone is masked, wearing gloves, spacing apart. It’s a very quick go-go-go. You get in and you get out,” said Drumm.
Dining at NMU has been prepping for the semester, implementing many changes to ensure students are kept safe and able to eat. Marina Dupler, marketing manager of NMU Dining Services, along with other members of dining have been hard at work in their preparation.


“Initially, all meals will be served to-go through various dining venues. As our students begin to fill the resident halls, we’ll be able to transition our operations for limited dine-in service. All self-serve elements will be reconsidered, to further mitigate any risks,” said Dupler. ”Signage will remind guests of social distance and of changes in traffic flow. Seating has been arranged to ensure social distancing and adhere to the required decreased capacity.

Our team has been trained in new sanitation procedures to ensure we’re providing continuous sanitizing and disinfecting throughout our facilities.”
The GET mobile app will now allow students to order from the lights, and soon The Wildcat Den, said Dupler. Furthermore, on-campus restaurants will also be utilizing the GET app later in the semester.

The on-campus restaurants will remain open for the fall semester, however, Melted and Sundre will be delayed until later in August. Melted will also allow for socially distanced seating, while Fiaras and Starbucks will be limited to to-go only.

Dining services will be available to students with an NMU I.D only, with the exemption of Smoothie King and Temaki & Tea. The Wildcat Den will begin as to-go only, with plans to implement a dine-in option later in the semester.


Northern Lights Dining will be take-out only during the move-in week, according to the NMU Board of Trustees meeting on July 30. Dine-in will be implemented in a limited capacity once resident halls are filled. Seating will be limited, by assignment only.


“With Northern Lights Dining being one of the areas on campus with the highest traffic, the steps we are implementing are specifically designed to help mitigate the possible spread of any potentially harmful virus or bacteria,” said Dupler.


Another major concern facing students was after dining switched to takeout only there was an increased amount of waste due to the boxes and single-use silverware. Piles of boxes would fill dumpsters outside residence halls daily, but Dining has formulated a plan to cut down on their carbon footprint.


“We received a great deal of feedback on the number of disposable utensils that were handed out at the end of last semester. Given the parameters that currently exist, disposable utensils are sometimes the only option. However, with our campus beverage partner Pepsi, we will issue all students who live in residence halls a reusable utensil kit. Whenever possible, we’re integrating the ability to request disposable utensils as part of the ordering, allowing students to choose when they’re in need,” said Dupler.