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Marquette’s newest dorm offers wild array of food choices

Wild Commons' barbecue station often includes ribs, brisket and pork.

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Wild Commons' barbecue station often includes ribs, brisket and pork.

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From Cobeen’s hot cookies to Schroeder’s chicken parm, Straz’s stir fry to McCormick’s “Mac and Nug” nights, Marquette prides itself on dining hall staples.

However, this year, there is a new player in town: Wild Commons dining hall.

The long-awaited dining hall opened Aug. 13, and it offers a wide variety of new dining choices.

The two-and-a-half-story cafeteria is filled with seven different food stations, including brick oven pizza, barbecue, an international stir fry bar, a traditional grill, a deli, bakery and a simple serving station free of the eight most common food allergens.

Rick Arcuri, executive director of student affairs operations, said the simple serving station will allow students with dietary restrictions to “feel 100 percent confident in what they are eating.”

These new features come to meet the needs of students that other older dining halls did not.

“For example, you need a brick oven to make brick oven pizza,” Arcuri said. “Wild Commons is that new space where we can try new things and offer a wider selection of food.”

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg
The brick oven pizza station is just one of many new amenities for students.

With new technology and a larger space to work with, a larger variety of dining options is possible, Arcuri said.

Vinny Stoll, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, also noted the increased variety in food selection compared to other dining halls. As an orientation leader, Stoll lived on campus early and was able to eat in the new dining hall before other students arrived.

“The orange chicken is my favorite,” he said. “The offerings are great.”

Members of Stoll’s orientation group said they were equally impressed with the dining hall and its offerings.

Katelyn Pisellini, a junior in the College of Nursing, said she agreed that the layout is refreshing.

“It looks really nice … everything looks really clean and organized. I think because there’s so much more space, it’s a lot easier to be organized in here, and a lot easier to have more options,” she said.

No longer on the meal plan, Pisellini admitted to feeling a little jealous of the underclassmen.

“Last year McCormick was really good. They stepped up their game a lot … like all the dining halls did. But seeing this makes me wish I could eat here a little more,” she said.

New students seemed ecstatic to be introduced to the new space. Jake Walker, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, said he was excited to be both a resident of the new dorm and frequent eater at the new dining hall.

“It would be the nicest hotel I’ve ever been in, so it is super nice I get to live here,” Walker said.

The dining hall is functional as well as aesthetically pleasing, and prior to opening, Arcuri was looking forward to seeing the reactions of faculty and students. He said he hoped they would be “impressed with the bright and airy feel of the building.”

And with a well-received addition of the new dining hall, students can expect to see a number of new menu changes across campus.

“We are hoping that Wild Commons will be a driving force for all our dining halls and dorms across campus,” Arcuri said.

One prominent new feature is the large variety of dining seating, which includes everything from lounge areas to typical bistro seating.

In Arcuri’s words, it is a place to “meet, eat and build community.”

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