Students enjoy variety of foods at Taste of Kent


Tia Beaty, fashion merchandising freshman, and Austin Ward, applied communications junior, enjoy time on the green after Taste of Kent on Risman Plaza on Tuesday Sept 22, 2015.

Erin Zaranec

Students lined Risman Plaza Tuesday afternoon to get a Taste of Kent State. Kent State Dining Services hosted the ninth annual event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. near the Student Green.

Students, staff and faculty alike attended the free event, most of whom walked around with plates full of food. More than 20 vendors attended the event, giving attendees plenty of options to choose from.

For those in need of some extra energy, Rockstar, Inc. and Amp Energy had samples of energy drinks, while PepsiCo. Inc. provided samples of an exclusive craft mix of Mountain Dew, MTN Dew Black Label®, available exclusively to college campuses.

For those looking for something more savory, Eastway Café had pulled pork sliders and lunchmeat sandwiches, Quaker Steak & Lube offered wings with four sauce options and many attendees were seen walking around with slices of buffalo chicken pizza from Slice Pizza.

Some attendees chose to satisfy their sweet tooth with pumpkin spice pretzel bites from Auntie Anne’s or pumpkin crème cookies from Starbucks.

“I was really surprised with how many food options there were to choose from,” said Megan Lawrence, sophomore criminology and justice major. “I basically just got a whole lunch and some dessert for free and got to try a ton of food options I wasn’t even aware of, so it was really a win-win situation.”

While most food items were sample-sized servings, many attendees weren’t shy about going up for seconds.

“I found a few items I really liked, so I was sure to stop by those tents a few times throughout the event,” Lawrence said.

This year, Kent State Dining Services introduced two new eateries in The Hub: Wow Bao and Wholly Habanero. Each new eatery received 50 feet of sample space, more than double the size other eateries had.

Wow Bao sampled chicken dumplings and pot stickers along with Thai herb bone broth, while Wholly Habanero had nachos with pico de gallo, corn and chipotle salsa.

“I really liked that the new dining options were featured. I honestly wasn’t sure what either place had to offer, so it was nice to try some menu items without actually buying a meal,” said Stephanie Low, junior exercise science major,.

Rita Mugford, manager of Dining Services, said she was very happy with the event.

“The attendance was amazing and the weather certainly cooperated. We were prepared for the crowds and see quite a large crowed every year at this event. It’s really a nice opportunity for the students to realize the quality of the food throughout campus,” Mugford said.

Along with samples of food, Kent State Dining Services is also striving to provide students with the best service possible. The department advertised sign-ups for a focus group event during the Taste of Kent State, hoping to gain student involvement.

“We want to make sure Dining Services is meeting all the needs of the students. We are really trying to gauge student satisfaction. We want to know students general habits, where are they eating, what are they eating, etcetera,” Mugford said.

Focus groups will be hosted Oct. 7 and 8 during four time slots each day. Participating students will receive $20 in ‘Dining Dollars’ to spend anywhere on campus.