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Upgrading the Center of HBCU Life: Alcorn State's Caf Gets Makeover

Upgrading the Center of HBCU Life: Alcorn State
Posted By: D'Juan Hopewell on October 02, 2021

“The Caf” is typically a shorthand term used for a university’s dining hall. At an HBCU, it’s the place where connections are made, and memories are created. From impromptu fraternity step shows to marriage proposals, some of the best moments in life have been experienced at HBCU dining halls across the country. Alcorn State University is no exception, and that’s why the recent overhaul of its university dining hall is so significant.

“We’re so excited to debut the upgraded dining hall here at Alcorn State University,” said Crystal Daye, Interim General Manager. “There’s lots of new branding, new food options, different concepts, and we’re really excited to begin the fall semester.”

New digital menu screens, branded logos and a new paint job are just the beginning. Thanks to Sodexo, the company that manages Alcorn State University’s dining services, students will experience the best of HBCU life in a beautifully upgraded space.

“I’m here in the Clinton Bristow Dining hall marveling at the wonderful updates and the improvements and enhancements that took place over the summer,” said Alcorn State President, Dr. Felecia M. Nave. “Working in partnership with Sodexo, our campus dining partners, we look for any opportunity we can to make the experience for our students here at Alcorn State University transformational and magnificent.”

The on-campus dining experience matters. Incoming freshmen experience their first bonds in the cafeteria and a great number of upperclassmen lean on the dining hall, or the “the caf,” for its familiarity and stability—in lieu of family gathering spaces they miss from back home. Students at Alcorn State University will now experience it all in a new light and in true Alcorn colors.

"It was a tremendous feat to try and get this refresh project completed in less than two months, but I'm extremely pleased with the results," said Area Marketing Manager Michael Fulkerson. "It feels like you're walking into a brand-new dining hall. We couldn't have gotten this done without the help of DIG Creative Solutions as well for their effort and support throughout the process."

The enhancements at the school’s cafeteria include defined entrances and exits with university colors.



Sodexo is also unveiling a number of new food stations, all with new names and designs to enhance the dining experience. The changes at Alcorn State’s dining hall are thorough, and even extend to the back of the house where university logos and beautiful perforate window treatments grace the walls.

“The dining hall refresh is wonderful,” says Dillian West, Marketing Coordinator for Sodexo. “Just seeing all the changes brings such joy and excitement when you enter into our dining facility!”

West’s enthusiasm stems from the passion he and the rest of the Sodexo family have for serving Alcorn’s students. In addition to the physical upgrades, students can also expect menu changes as well. Executive Chef, Richard Drummond, has plans for bringing fresh, new ideas to the table, and will even incorporate some tastes from his native homeland—Jamaica.

“Students will get a phenomenal dining experience,” says Chef Drummond. “Look for some Jamaican spice! Some spiced chicken, some Hispanic dishes… We’re trying to be more diverse, and bring students dishes that are near and dear to our heart.”


The dining hall was named after the late Dr. Clinton Bristow Jr. who served as the sixteenth president of Alcorn State University. The dining hall now features a nameplate in his honor, along with the Alcorn State University crest. To honor Dr. Bristow is fitting—a Black man born in Montgomery, Alabama before the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Even so, he rose to become an attorney and led Alcorn State from 1995 until his untimely death in 2006. As students enjoy the many upgrades to the university’s dining hall, they’ll do so reminded of the intellectual giant that preceded them; and on a campus now led by the first Black woman to hold the position Dr. Bristow once held. Thanks to Sodexo, the current upgrades at Alcorn State University still honor the school’s great past.

“Be on the lookout for even greater things to happen,” says Dr. Nave. “As we celebrate our 150th year, our theme is ‘Dare to…!’ And what you see here today in our Clinton Bristow Dining hall, Sodexo has dared to hit it out of the ballpark!”

Great food can be served without new food stations, and lifelong memories can be made without digital menus. But why can’t the students at Alcorn State have both? Thanks to Sodexo, they now have it all.
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