Prentice Sign

Prentice Hall, which used to be a dining hall, will now be used as an engagement space.

Kent State University has decided to repurpose Prentice Cafe into an engagement space for students. 

The café has closed in order to transform it into an additional academic learning center. However, KSU will provide more gluten-free options for students with dietary needs.

“The decision to have Prentice transform into a student engagement space as opposed to a different dining hall was based on the geographical location,” said Kevin Moodhe, a Dining Services marketing manager. The location of the dining hall greatly impacted the need for change because Prentice is not located on the front of campus like the other food options available to students. 

Prentice was the first dining hall on campus with gluten-free options, meaning that students with dietary restrictions were drawn to the concept. 

“I know students that chose Kent State because of Prentice. It’s all gluten-free dining,” said Jess Urig, a gluten-free student. “It will impact gluten-free students to look elsewhere for food, like off campus. As a gluten-free person, there were very limited options. Prentice had variety.”

KSU realized the impact that Prentice had on gluten-free students and incorporated other options on campus after the dining halls closure.

“For the past several years, the feedback we have received from the Kent State students was that they were looking for dining options on the front part of campus,” Moodhe said. This is why the university incorporated the new dining hall, the DI Hub, with gluten-free options.

After the closure of Prentice, “the approach to the changes was to offer gluten-free options across campus as opposed to having one centralized location,” Moodhe said. “This allows students to enjoy gluten-free options regardless of their location on campus.”  

Gluten-free students have new dining options at Eastway and the DI Hub. DI Dining is not open on weekends, but the Eastway dining hall is open every day, making it a great option for gluten-free students.

The True Balance station at Eastway features items that are made without the most common food allergens, which also makes it a gluten-free option. True Balance offers an “always available” menu featuring made-to-order items like hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, deli meats and side salads. 

Moodhe said making this change benefits students who are looking for gluten-free meals that potentially have campus commitments at different points across campus throughout the day. Students now don’t have to look for one place to eat.

Kent State also offers a Gluten-Free Options page. The website includes a link to an online brochure that lists gluten-free options available on campus for students. You can also find the online menu here, which allows you to view menu items and their allergens.

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Prentice Cafe was originally set to reopen in the spring of 2021. However, this was never the case. The article has been updated to reflect this information. 

Camryn Kocher is a student life reporter. Contact her at ckocher5@kent.edu.

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