Dining hall wins awards for design, food
By Laura Finaldi, News Correspondent
International Village (INV) has been nationally recognized as a state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly facility that caters to many different taste palettes by Food Management magazine and American School and University magazine.
With artwork from around the world on display in the lobby and international foods on the menu every day, the dining hall was honored with the 2010 Best Concept award for Best New Facility by Food Management, a magazine that evaluates dining facilities at elementary, middle and high schools, as well as universities and hospital cafeterias.
Renata Nyul, director of communications at Northeastern, said in an e-mail that dining services entered a contest for the award last March. Food Management announces the winners of the Best Concept awards annually in its August issue.
John Lawn, editor-in-chief of Food Management Magazine, said INV was chosen because it met the needs of a student body in a time where a lot of other schools put big construction projects on hold.
“One of the roles of college food service today is to expose students to world cuisine,” Lawn said. “The student body in Boston is going to have a very sophisticated palette and [INV] is doing a good job of expanding that.”
He said Food Management staff members were impressed with the sense of community brought about by the presence of INV, which sits on the other side of Ruggles.
“[INV] is just a very attractive, aesthetically-designed building,” Lawn said. “The food matches the quality of facility design.”
INV was also given a 2010 award for “Outstanding Design” by American School and University magazine. These awards are given to facilities entered into the contest that are sustainable, offer a warm environment, use up-to-date technology and have lots of space and room for flexibility, according to the contest rules on the magazine’s website.
“The artwork is attractive to both the eye and the appetite,” Nyul said.
The 20,000 square-foot building has the first dining facility on a college campus to operate two three-star certified green restaurants, Peet’s Coffee and Jamba Juice, within a LEED gold certified building in the US. This means Peet’s, Jamba Juice and the INV dining hall all meet standards set by the Green Restaurant Association, a non-profit organization that provides cheap and easy ways for people to be more environmentally friendly. These standards include water efficiency, waste reduction, chemical reduction and recycling.
The university also earned high ratings in the 2011 College Sustainability Report Card, which is a survey that ranks over 300 colleges and universities. The survey is completed by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, an organization which tries to advance sustainability at North American universities. Northeastern received a grade of A- in this ranking.
“There are only 317 certified green restaurants in the country, only 44 have achieved three-star status and we have two on campus,” Nyul said. “The three-star green certified restaurant in a LEED gold building, two tandoori ovens and a sushi bar (unique in all-you-care-to-eat dining programs) and the contemporary restaurant-like design contribute to differentiating INV from some of its peers.”
Some students said the design at INV is what makes it special. Freshman architecture major Pooja Shetty said she likes the artwork and comfortable environment INV provides.
“I actually really don’t like the food here, but I like coming here because I like the seats and the lighting,” she said. “It’s a good hangout spot.”
Randell Dauda, a senior psychology major, said the variety of food served is what sets INV apart from the other dining halls.
“I think it’s just really fancy, but the food is not all that,” she said. “Sometimes the food is really good, like today the salad’s good, but you have to keep going back. [The portions are] really small.”