Nov. 16, 2015

Dear Drew community members,

I write to share an update on our efforts on a University priority—enhancing dining on campus through a renovation of the Commons and a review of food options campuswide.

We anticipate that the new Commons will open in fall 2016, and our goals center around the theme of Community:

  • Renovate the Commons to provide a top-notch dining experience.
  • Provide vibrant, diverse and well-executed dining services, with product quality as the number one goal.
  • Utilize the dining program itself to build community across all campus constituencies.
  • Apply traditional and non-traditional concepts and services to meet the unique and diverse dining needs at Drew.

To date, we have:

  • Formed a Dining Task Force with representation from Athletics, Campus Life, Facilities, Students, Sustainability, Finance and Student Accounts.
  • Conducted focus groups with students on the food and services such as hours of operation and venues.
  • Hired Brailsford & Dunlavey, a food management consultant, to assist us with selecting a food services provider, an architectural firm and a contractor.
  • Chose Kimmel Bogrette as our architectural firm.
  • Solicited proposals from food services companies, and received five.

Some of our next steps include:

  • Engaging in the design phase of the project with the architects, which will include opportunities for input from the campus community, especially students.
  • Selecting the contractor and signing a contract, likely by mid-December.
  • Exploring locations and logistics temporary kitchen and dining facilities in case they are necessary.
  • Finalizing the project timeline.

We will continue to share updates on this project over the coming months, and I look forward to working with the campus community to make it a success!

Best regards,


MaryAnn Baenninger