Dining Services ranking rises

Nicole Ely/The News
Murray State dining services ranked 55th in the nation by Niche.Nicole Ely/The News Murray State dining services ranked 55th in the nation by Niche.

Story by Cody Hall, Contributing writer

Nicole Ely/The News Murray State dining services ranked 55th in the nation by Niche.

Nicole Ely/The News
Murray State dining services ranked 55th in the nation by Niche.

You finally get that person you like to agree to go on a date with you.

They are everything you have been thinking about for weeks, and now all your dreams are coming true. You set up a time and day to have dinner with them at one of the best places to eat in town.  When that day comes you meet them at your favorite place to eat, which has recently been ranked at the top among competitors: Murray State Dining Services and Racer Hospitality’s Pony Express.

Dining Services was placed in the top 3 percent of on-campus food services nationwide by the Niche rankings. They moved from the 107th position last year to the 55th spot.

The ranking is by Niche, an organization committed to helping people make choices about which education institution is right for them by giving ranks and reviews about different aspects of communities and schools.

For college campuses, Niche reviews all aspects from the off-campus living opportunities to the party scenes available.

“We ranked 107th last year,” said Paula Amols, director of Dining Services. “So, we were already pretty highly ranked, but the big move up this year was a wonderful surprise.”

Amols said she believes the introduction of Pony Express has contributed to the higher rank of the university’s Dining Services in this year’s review.

“[Pony Express] has been part of our program now for two and a half years, long enough for it to have become ingrained in the program,” Amols said.

“Last spring seemed to be a tipping point of sorts for it,” she said. “This is very likely attributed to it catering to students living off campus as well as those on campus.”

For some students, absence of Murray State’s Dining Services makes the heart grow fonder, and this could not be truer for former Murray State student, Kayla Holland. Holland’s experience speaks to Murray State’s increased ranking when compared to another university.

She attended Murray State for one year, then transferred to Southeast Missouri State. She truly misses the food options that Murray provided, she said.

“At Murray, you can eat as much as you like,” Holland said.

When asked what she thought about Murray State’s food options compared to those of Southeast Missouri State, Holland said her new school has restricted options.

“We have a specific meal plan, and you can only use it three times a day,” Holland said. “After you have used your ‘meal’ for the specific time slot, you have to use the flex. They stop serving dinner at eight. Anywhere you go after that, you must use flex.”