Campus News

Reimagining Rathskeller

February 3, 2017

Communications Staff

Wilder Hall
Photo credit: Yvonne Gay

Planning has begun for a vibrant dining and retail space in the basement of Wilder Hall, with the goal of improving the dining offerings for those in the Oberlin College community.

As part of an overarching strategy to manage the quality and expense of the campus dining program, the Rathskeller kitchen will be offline during the 2017 spring semester. The physical space will be available for social and programmatic purposes, and Wilder Hall’s DeCafé will remain open during the planning process. Current employees impacted by the reorganization have been relocated to other parts of campus dining operations.

“While financial considerations play a role in this decision, the primary goal of the move is to enhance dining services in Wilder,” stated Adrian Bautista, associate dean of campus life. “We are working to create a space that draws more faculty, staff, and students and that makes a positive contribution to the educational, social, and economic development of the campus and local community.”

In order to incorporate significant student input into the remaking of Rathskeller, a dining committee is in the formative stages. “We have reached out to the two students who were nominated by the student senate to be part of the dining committee, and we are inviting input from others who have expressed interested in participation,” said Wayne Wood, general manager for campus dining services. “A more formal nominating process will begin once the committee is launched, and it will be tasked with organizing fall membership. This group will be involved in the feedback process and will ensure that a diversity of viewpoints and needs are considered.”

Students on the committee will have ample opportunity to provide suggestions for what they would like the space to become. “One of the foremost goals of the committee is that it be student-driven, with guidance and support from Bon Appétit,” stated Bautista. “We want this to be one of the most dynamic, inclusive, exciting student-driven committees on campus.”

The Rathskeller will host several special events this semester, including a Valentine's Day a la carte dinner served tableside by student workers on February 14. The campus community is encouraged to watch for additional announcements about special events. The space is also available immediately as a study and small group meeting area. It may be reserved through the Student Union office for special events or programs.

Anyone who previously utilized noontime F.A.S.T meals at Rathskeller restaurant may use the meals at Stevenson and Dascomb dining halls.

Students, staff, or faculty who have ideas or would like to be involved in the redesign of the Rathskeller space are invited to contact Campus Dining General Manager Wayne Wood.

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