Ursinus College Dining Services and Sodexo are offering a new bar for healthy smoothies on campus –The Natural! juice bar, located in the Floy Lewis Bakes Center, opened Feb 20.
The juice bar features fresh squeezed fruit juices and blended smoothies. Students can order custom-made beverages from a selection of fresh ingredients. The menu also offers a variety of fresh wraps and salads for students to be able to get a full, healthy meal during lunch and dinner hours, according to an email sent out by UC Dining Services.
Rob Wood, general Sodexo manager, explained that the decision to build Natural! came out of discussions with administration officials who wished to expand Sodexo’s offerings to high traffic locations, such as the gym. Customer surveys indicated an increasing demand from students for healthier food options, with a specific request for fresh smoothies, Wood added.
When asked about the budget for the juice bar, Wood explained that Ursinus and Sodexo funded the installation through a joint financial partnership agreement.
Diamond Wint, a sophomore, noticed the alternative ingredients in the menu include alternative milk, such as almond, soy, and cashew milk, which accommodate students with dietary restrictions.
“I do think [the juice bar will] be a nice addition, especially because they have more vegan dairy alternatives than at Jazzman’s,” said Wint.
Wood explained that the juice bar fits well in its health and fitness center environment, suiting the health-conscious theme of Natural!.
The decision to move the juice bar away from the rest of the dining services in Wismer was made in order to improve congestion during peak meal times, Wood explained. Attendees of evening events, such as basketball or volleyball games, will have a nearby venue to purchase food and beverages.
“If it weren’t for me living so close [to the FLBC], and being able to use meal credit swipes, I probably wouldn’t [consider] frequenting so often,” said Wint.
Reception to the juice bar pre-opening has been positive, according to Wood.
“Feedback [from students] is always appreciated and will be forwarded to the brand group for review,” said Wood.
Tori Williams, a sophomore, and one of the students workers at Natural! is excited to be a part of Ursinus’ new dining option, “The new juice bar will be an excellent addition to Ursinus. This juice bar will add more variety to the food offerings at Ursinus and will hopefully give students a healthier alternative to other food choices.”
Students can use meal credits, dining dollars, Bear Bucks, or credit and debit cards towards their purchases at the Natural! Juice bar; cash is not accepted.
Natural! is open from 8am-8pm, Monday to Friday. According to Wood, it opens at that time to allow those who use the FLBC to get a healthy breakfast or smoothie. It will also be open late to help support athletic events in the evening.