During the spring semester of 2020, Oklahoma Christian University remodeled the dining hall. One year later, Colleges of Distinction officially recognized The Branch as one of the best college dining halls in the nation.
The award was presented to Oklahoma Christian this past week and was greatly appreciated by Lauren Olson, the general manager of the Branch.
“I was really happy to hear about the award,” Olson said. “I was sent a link to the article and was honored at the kind things the publication had to say about The Branch.”
Olson noticed significant improvements after the update of the dining hall which brought forth new opportunities for the campus.
“The layout of The Branch allows us to do things that were not possible in our previous space, and really allowed for more customization,” Olson said.
These updates allowed for old and new students, like freshman Leah Franklin, to have an advantageous experience.
“I wasn’t surprised about the award by any means,” Franklin said. “Even my sister who went to a different college ate there once and spoke about how good it was.”
The incorporation of student input has contributed to the success of The Branch with students and visitors alike.
“The station concepts were developed with lots of input from the OC community,” Olson said. “Each station was developed with the OC students in mind.”
The award will bring recognition for Oklahoma Christian as new students enroll in the upcoming semesters.
“People will go where the good food is,” Franklin said. “I think it will, in a way, help with admissions.”
Other factors contributed to the success of the new dining hall.
“We expanded our management team by adding in a new executive chef and hospitality manager,” Olson said. “They have really helped us upgrade our menus and improve our customer service.”
Along with hospitality, the food options cater to a variety of student needs.
“Having plenty of options for the specified dietary needs of each student definitely contributed to the award,” Franklin said.
The team behind The Branch is a big part of the accomplishments the Branch has made for the dining experience.
“We have a very hard working team and it’s nice to see that hard work be recognized,” Olson said.
The future of the campus life through The Branch will enhance new ideas put into reality for the betterment of student life.
“I really think you can taste the difference,” Olson said. “We are really proud of the program that we have built.”