As an AEM student who rarely strays away from that safe and familiar space of campus appropriately demarcated as the Ag Quad, I — along with countless other undergraduate students — truly cherish Kennedy Hall’s Trillium food court, with its beautifully tall windows that allow you to bathe in sunrays as you munch on fresh lettuce leaves, slurp just-soft-enough ramen noodles or bite into a warm, delectable burrito. As a result, when I learned that Trillium would be offering dinner starting February 21, I can assure you I was beyond thrilled. Late-night hours for the beloved food court now run from 7 to 9 p.m. on all weekdays, with the exception of Fridays.
While Trillium’s decision to launch its late-night hours was heavily influenced and spearheaded by Cornell’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, “there [were] a few [different] motivating factors for starting Trillium Late Night,” according to Meng-Wei Hsu, the Senior Operations Manager for the Ag Quad & Coffee Shops, who oversees some of the busiest dining options on Central Campus.
Although one of the most important reasons for this new and exciting development was responding to student athlete requests “that they especially need an option on Central Campus after practices,” Hsu noted other variables of the ultimate equation, including the need to address a lack of late-night meal choices on campus, and the desire to offer Cornell students more variety in the type of meals they do eat.
“Eateries like Amit Bhatia Libe Cafe and the Green Dragon are open late, and they do a great job of providing coffee and snacks to those studying and working on academics. [But] most of our All You Care to Eat dining rooms close earlier in the evening after serving the majority of our diners,” said Hsu. “We also know that some of our students and other guests want the choice of a hot meal, like a wrap from Una Mano or a bowl of pasta, rather than the full meal that a meal swipe offers.”
In terms of menu offerings during these new dinner hours, which I imagine to be a burning question for all fellow Trillium lovers, the food court will operate the Una Mano and Pasta By Design stations, along with supplying a diverse selection of Wegmans Sushi and grab-and-go items, such as packaged salads and sandwiches, in its FreshTake cooler.
In addition, I found the answers to a few random questions (like tiny seeds ready to be watered) that have always been at the back of my mind and hopefully yours too. Ever wonder who or what decides the menus at on-campus eateries? Well, Hsu and the Ag Quad’s amazing culinary team, led by Chef Chloe Greenhalgh, are the masterminds behind these offerings! Ever wonder why Trillium only takes Big Red Bucks? Trillium began with Cornell Dining’s desire to offer students the flexibility to choose a single hot food item over a full meal. And this may be the AEM side of me asking/talking, but ever wonder if eateries compete with each other on performance? The short answer is no, but Trillium is evaluated on participation rates.
Cornell Dining is as dynamic and ever-changing as the students that populate Cornell, and operates smoothly through the behind-the-scenes work of many talented individuals. Consequently, the developments planned and implemented (such as an exciting plant-based, sustainable vegan burger that should be launched at two locations this spring) are definitely worth checking out. What I’m trying to say is, Trillium late-night hours will be in effect for the remainder of the spring semester (and hopefully beyond), and if you are even contemplating whether or not to join me in lovingly devouring a cream pasta bowl at 8 p.m., then the answer is yesssss.