For the most part, meals at the Caf at MVNU are just another part of the daily grind for students, but once in a while the food service staff likes to do something to break up the routine.
Food Services Director Rob Stiltner and his staff plan special “theme nights” once a month at the Caf.
The theme nights are chosen with input from workers, who “throw ideas around on what they would like.”
The exception to this rule is the “Star Wars” night from last year. Stiltner says he didn’t have to ask around about that one because they are “all Star Wars geeks in here.”
The theme nights may involve both traditional meals and foods not normally served in a cafeteria setting. The special nights also involve unique decorations and costumes as food services staff go out of their way to create a memorable atmosphere and experience for the night.
Theme nights range from holiday motifs such as Oaktoberfest, Thanksgiving and Chinese New Year to Food Truck Night and the already-mentioned Star Wars Night.
While most of the theme nights draw praise, once in a while, one doesn’t go over as well as expected. The recent Renaissance Night is one example.
Some people just didn’t have “a taste for [the food],” sophomore Malisa Simco said.
Renaissance Night was held in February, which is Black History month. Simco would have liked to see something more connected to black culture like soul food.
Overall though, students enjoy the theme nights.
“I think they should do more,” Simco said. “People are excited.”
Stiltner says he enjoys the faces on the students and their appreciation when a theme night is a hit.
“My favorite part is decorations and doing different kinds of foods we normally can’t offer,” he said.
The recent Food Truck Night, offering foods like street tacos, stromboli, Italian sausage and funnel cakes, was a big success among the students.
“I loved it,” sophomore Liz Crosby said. “It was amazing. I want it again. It was very greasy, but it was like a happy greasy.”
Ticket Night is the most expensive to cater, so they swap that out with the theme nights.
The next theme night will be student appreciation, featuring students’ favorite foods, contests and giveaways.