Student’s voices bring change to Cook Dining Hall

When the stomachs of students at Hope start to rumble, the following question is imminent: “Cook or Phelps?” The debate rages as to which is superior. There runs a long list of characteristics in question when deciding where to feast: more options? better food quality? more choice in seating? What could be a daily decision often turns into routine for many students who tend to choose one dining hall at the beginning of the year and stick with it. Fall of 2019, however, these routines may be changing for the better.

Cook Dining Hall has transformed both its menu options and hours of operation this year after listening closely to what students desire out of Hope’s dining services. Cook now offers food on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. This is revolutionary for students who don’t have the chance to make it to lunch due to classes or meetings until 1:30 or 2, when the halls have been closed in the past. Cook is in limbo from 1:30 to 5 between lunch and dinner, and serves soups, salads and sandwiches rather than the traditional menu. These options, while limited, are much better than nothing for hungry students.

Director of Dining Services, Dan Zehr, speaks on the changes to one of Hope’s staple food service locations: “Cook Dining Hall has been a favorite dining location among students on Hope College’s campus for many years.  It’s small in stature but provides an excellent atmosphere for students to engage in conversation, meet new friends, and try some amazing food creations both new and all-time favorites. This past summer our team of culinarians set forth to develop some new menu items that would be reflective of trends at colleges & universities around the nation.  The menus we created included a hand pattied, fresh beef burger, as well as a street food offerings that you’d find at your local food truck. At the same time, we brought back student favorites to start the year. Since the school year began, we’ve listened intently to student feedback and have now evolved our burger station into a location that serves a variety of hand held options such as wraps, burgers, and other traditional sandwich favorites to avoid menu repetition and fatigue.  As you Dine At Hope team, we are so excited for all students, staff, and faculty to experience the change in menu as well as the cosmetic upgrades at Cook Dining Hall.”

Do you as a student have something to share about your new Cook experience or Hope Dining in general? Go to to fill out a comment card and have your voice heard. As seen this year, your feedback really does mean something. Meanwhile, head on over to Cook and enjoy these changes for yourself!


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