Exciting Dining and Housing Improvements on the Way for Fall 2021

Mary Allen, Director of Communications
Renovated University Center with tables and TV screens on the wall

As Widener plans for a fall semester that offers a much more familiar campus experience, students will return to many dining and housing improvements, as well as new investments in social events and programs on campus. 

John Downey head shot
Dean of Students John Downey

“Widener is committed to providing an excellent student experience, and campus improvement projects – which are newly completed, or about to launch – speak to that,” said Dean of Students John Downey.

“A lot of this work is in response to many student requests, and all of these investments are being done without any increase to our students’ room and board costs. In some cases, those expenses are decreasing,” added Assistant Dean of Students for Residence Life Alexandra Silvestre.

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Assistant Dean of Students for Residence Life Alexandra Silvestre

Since 2019, Widener has invested $5.5 million in residence hall refurbishments. Additionally, the university plans to double budgets for Residence Life programming, to allow for additional student events. Student Engagement staff will put a special focus on weekend activities. Planning is happening in earnest, just as the Office of Residence Life runs the housing selection process from April 13 through 16. Freshmen and sophomores will live on campus, and space is available for juniors and seniors who desire the convenience of campus living, too. 

“As our country slowly and carefully re-emerges from this isolating pandemic we are especially excited about the increased investment in Residence Life programming. We will be bringing people together safely so they can enjoy each other’s company. There will be a lot of laughter and social time together this fall. I think everyone will approach these opportunities with a new sense of appreciation for just being together in person,” Downey said.   

There are many things to look forward to this fall. For dining, highlights include:

  • $1.6 million in additional University Center renovations. Pandemic-delayed plans for Bento Sushi and Tenders Love & Chicken will happen this summer so the eateries are ready for fall in MacMorland Commons. A Freshens Food Studio featuring a variety of smoothies, flatbreads, and salads will also be installed in Freedom Hall. 
  • Moe’s and Einstein Bros. will re-open in Harris Hall, and the ever-popular Good Uncle food truck will be back making the rounds on campus. 
  • More people coming to campus will enjoy the new Starbucks in University Center, which was developed in response to many student requests. This addition was part of $1.7 million in upgrades that were completed last summer and fall.

For resident students, highlights include:

  • Residence halls will remain open over breaks at no additional cost to students.
  • Improvements including refurbished lounge spaces, new windows, and air-flow enhancements. All of these projects were designed to enhance our students’ comfort.
  • Students will be allowed to have roommates this fall, but Widener is also providing increased opportunities for students to have single rooms through community-style living in Turrell Hall. That option makes single-room living available at a reduced cost.

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