Enduring Design: Hampshire Dining Commons Turns Ten

We asked the UMass Amherst Dining Services team to share their thoughts, feedback, and statistics on the modern-day Hampshire Dining Commons.
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Members of our team will be heading to NACUFS 2023 at UMass Amherst this week. With the opportunity to revisit our Hampshire Dining Commons project at UMass, we checked in with our former clients to hear their feedback on how "Hamp" is performing ten years post-completion.

For a brief background on the project, in 2013, UMass Amherst set out to raise the bar for campus dining standards with the renovation of the Hampshire Dining Commons. Curious to know how the design of this nationally-recognized dining program is performing after ten years, we gathered current thoughts, feedback, and statistics from the UMass Amherst Dining Services team.

Below are some of our team's takeaways from our design review of the Hampshire Dining Commons after ten years of operation.

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Happy Students

  • The flow and efficiency created by Hampshire's innovative elliptical servery has successfully diffused lines (and delighted guests) for ten years.
  • The street food and noodle stations are among the most popular and expose students to potential new flavors and dishes such as udon, pho, and bibimbap.
  • The food and dining experience quality is so high that UMass Amherst retains 70% of seniors on their meal plan.
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Thriving Staff

  • With the back of house fully visible, Hampshire's staff – like "Pizza Joe" – thrive from the opportunities to engage with students and guests.
  • The visible food prep enables the culinary team to tell stories about fresh global flavors, authentic cuisines, and healthy eating.
  • Thanks to the design's openness, managers and their teams have been able to communicate with ease.
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Ability to Adapt to the Unknown

  • The flexibility of the food stations to accommodate a range of cuisines has made Hampshire the ideal venue for dining events like Best Campus Food.
  • Hampshire's private dining room is used robustly for chef demos, nutrition workshops, and community meetings.
  • Hampshire has been extraordinarily successful at fitting into the culture around the ways that UMass students dine.
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Scroll to see photos from various events held at Hampshire Dining Commons over the past few years. (Photography courtesy of UMass Amherst.)

"While the high quality and abundant variety in food at Hamp was undeniable, the modern atmosphere, ease in layout, and emphasis on sustainability won me over as easily my favorite dining hall at UMass Amherst."
~Celine Vu, UMass Amherst class of 2020

The Takeaway

Our team was pleased to learn that Hampshire Dining Commons continues to be a successful experience for its staff and students, providing an extraordinary opportunity to celebrate the university's multicultural community with healthy menu offerings that span the globe.