Kent State to continue policy providing free lunch on Fridays for staff

Morgan McGrath Reporter

Kent State says it is showing its appreciation for faculty and staff with free meals every Friday. 

“It began in the middle of August for faculty and staff as part of our Blue, Gold and Grateful employee appreciation initiative to show our gratitude to our faculty and staff,” said Eric Mansfield, assistant vice president for university communications and marketing for Kent State. 

Each week, faculty and staff have the option to eat at either the Design Innovation Hub or Eastway if they provide university identification upfront. 

Lunch options are as varied as the dining halls in which they can be redeemed.

“We have received positive feedback and appreciation for the free lunches,” Mansfield said.

He said that the program will continue for the rest of the fall semester.

Alex Silverio, an academic advisor for CCI, is one of many who takes advantage of the offered opportunities. 

“It’s really nice. I really do like going,” she said. 

Silverio has been attending the lunches since they began over the summer, and she first learned about them through an email from Kent State president Todd Diacon. 

She appreciates having a change of pace at the end of each week, saying, “As much as I like to pack my own stuff, it’s nice to have one day where I don’t have to worry about, ‘“Oh, what am I prepping or making?’”

In particular, Silverio said she enjoys the burgers, but she also likes the more “nontraditional” options as well, which might include ratatouille, herb pasta, and breaded chicken piccata. 

Scott Hallgren, an assistant professor for the School of Media and Journalism, also enjoys eating the free lunches.

“It’s something I wanna take advantage of when I have the opportunity to,” he says. “I’d like to continue going, although I’d also like them to bring back gelato.”

Hallgren said his favorites are the grill options, sliced pizza, and he said there’s also newer waffle makers and breakfast options. 

“The most exciting thing is the gluten free and vegan and vegetarian island in the middle, as well,” Hallgren said. 

“In our busy lives, how often do you get a chance to go, “‘Oh, look! Healthy food.’” 

Hallgren, a DI Hub team member, hopes to see a continuous rise in faculty and staff attendance for the remaining free lunch Fridays. He said he sees a deeper meaning in the offering from the community.

“Just going and getting a meal together, I think, it’s a very important experience and it’s one we’ve lost…and I think it’s a way to come back,” says Hallgren. “I think it’s a way to encourage people to come back and whatnot, and especially [because it’s] free.” 

 Morgan is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].