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Students taste success with diner opening

With the opening of the Lamberton Hall diner, Lehigh students have a new dining option.

When the stomachs of Lehigh students growl during midnight study sessions, they’ll now be able to grab some cheese fries, nachos or a slice of pizza without having to hop into a car.

That’s because Lamberton Hall’s late-night diner is open for business.

The on-campus diner, which officially opened in January, was the brainchild of Kurt Lesker ’05, then the Facilities and Housing Committee chair, and Rick Longenecker ’05, then the Student Senate president, who presented the concept to Gregory Farrington, Lehigh president, in the spring of 2004.

“This project was really unique because of the level of student involvement,” says Anthony Corallo, associate vice president for facilities services and campus planning. “The students came up with the concept. They’ve served on the planning committees—where things like menu items, hours of operation as well as decisions on how the business would be run were decided.

“They’ve invested a lot of their time to ensure that fellow students have a place to hang out and grab an affordable bite to eat well after the dinning halls have closed.”

During the early planning stages, the original concept was for a 24-hour diner. But after discussing it in greater detail, the students agreed that having it open until 3 a.m. on weekends and 1 a.m. on weekdays might be sufficient, Corallo says. However if the demand is there, those hours will be expanded, he adds.

The new on-campus eatery will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner items with a heavy emphasis on comfort foods—think, good old-fashioned diner fare. The conversion of Lamberton to a diner actually harkens back to the building’s original use. It was a dining hall from 1907 to 1926, when it became home to the department of military science.

“The diner is going to be a great addition to this campus,” says Rachel Glauser, who received her B.A. in psychology last spring and is currently working toward her masters in elementary education. “In addition to food choices to fit all tastes, there will be an area where small concerts or comedians can be booked. Plus, there will be an additional eating area upstairs with a pool table, an air hockey table, and a foosball table as well as plenty of televisions.

“I think it will be a big hit with the students.”

Glauser, the secretary of University Productions, was one of 20 student representatives chosen last year by the Student Senate to meet once or twice per month with members of Lehigh’s administration to ensure that the diner met the student body’s needs.

“It’s wonderful that Lehigh’s administration sought out and listened to the input of students on this project,” Glauser says. “At most universities, they simply announce plans for a diner and then proceed with building it. So, to get to have a real say is great.

“And it’s smart of them, too. Because if you want to open a successful on-campus diner where students will largely be the customers, who better to get input from than students?”

--Bill Doherty

Lehigh Alumni Bulletin Online
January 2006

Posted on Tuesday, January 24, 2006

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