By: Brianna Hallman
Hendo, famous for its hot cookies and chicken nuggets, is traditionally known as Henderson Dining Hall at the University of Findlay. Housed in Deming Residence Hall, students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumni have passed through its doors to seek warmth and hot food in the winter and a good cup of soft serve in the summer.
When the freshmen enter Hendo for the first time, they are looking for familiar, comforting food and a place to make new friends and socialize, according to freshmen Kaylee Wheat finds she likes the welcoming atmosphere that the dining hall offers and already has a favorite meal, the classic spaghetti with meatballs.
Every year, Hendo welcomes hundreds of young, eager freshmen looking for a taste of home cooking. University of Findlay’s Director of Dining Services David Harr is there to listen to the needs of the University’s students.
“Freshmen are figuring out their own identity and their wants and needs when they come to college, and this extends to food,” Harr said.
As an employee of the University since 1990, Harr has been witness to the ever-changing trends that the college food systems have gone through. He was there before Henderson Dining Hall even existed, and his goal every year is to make sure the needs and wants of students are being met. He’s ensured students are getting the latest in food trends such as a wrap station in Hendo, the sushi bar in the Refinery, and even the Bonus Bucks to use around town.
“The food on campus is good…mainly because of the Coke machines,” said Wheat.
The state-of-the-art Coke machines seem to appeal to the freshmen the most, ironically, because it is not something that is made by a cook. Wheat has only been to Henderson Dining Hall so far, but she and her friends are looking forward to trying out all the Refinery, in the new Center for Student Life and College of Business Building, has to offer. She even plans to change her meal plan to include more Bonus Bucks, giving her the choice to enjoy more Refinery food.
Wheat feels like there is a great amount of variety, which is due to the work Dining Services does behind the scenes. Students are given a voice through suggestion surveys twice a year which Harr and his staff do their best to take every consideration into account.
Harr noted his favorite comments, however, usually go something like this, “We want more healthy food options, but can you also have more chicken nugget days?”
Fast forward a few years, and graduates come back to visit. Harr loves when alumni come and see all the new food options, and he even recalls one commented, “You now have sushi on campus?!”
Opinions, however, do change the longer a student is at the University. Senior Alyssa Simin said the choice was easy to not purchase a meal plan, “I actually save a lot of money by buying my own food.”
“I will miss the unlimited amount of food to eat at Hendo, but it will save me a few pounds in the long run!” She wants freshmen to know coming in that the “freshmen fifteen” does exist.
While opinions vary, Henderson Dining Hall remains a social hub that brings the campus together.