Fryer Oil to Tractor Fuel

April 12, 2012 – Engineering students at NC State University are taking fryer oil from Clark dining hall and the Innovation Café, and converting it to biodiesel fuel to be used in machines here on campus. NC State’s Biodiesel Fuel Club has partnered with the Solar Center and taken initiative to go green on campus.

“Our goal is to use the oil instead of paying to eliminate the ‘waste product,’ and to fuel NC State’s vehicles,” says Ben Gillespie, senior in textile engineering. “We’re starting to look at using solar heat instead of electricity, and maybe a waste oil burner. We want to be as energy efficient and renewable as possible.”

According to Scott Curtner, University Dining produces almost 1000 gallons of fryer oil a month. The club is able to convert about 200 gallons of that into 100% biodiesel fuel every month in about 60-gallon batches. The rest of the oil waste goes to Piedmont Biofuels. With funding from the university, they hope to ultimately be able to eliminate the oil waste on campus by turning it into usable fuel for tractors and other machines.

The NC State Biodiesel Fuel Club will have a table located in the Brickyard in front of DH Hill Library at NC State University’s Earth Day, April 20, 2012.The Office of Sustainability at NC State University partners with University Dining in initiatives in the dining halls, and around campus to “go green” and be sustainable on campus.

University Dining
Waste Reduction and Recycling
University Sustainability Office

Bye-Bye Bubble

Construction crews began demolishing the Bubble this week.  By early next week, remnants of the temporary seating area should be completely removed from the Brickyard.  We’ll pause here for applause…


What's left of the Bubble in the Brickyard.

The Atrium will be closed until August, while construction crews renovate the kitchen and finish the seating area.   Check out the picture below to see the lighting that has already been installed in the seating and lounge space.


New lighting fixtures in the Atrium seating area.


On the Right Track

Construction on the Atrium seating area is progressing along as scheduled.  I stopped by for a quick peak recently and found crews working on track lighting that will flow throughout one section of the space.  In the portion of the seating area closest to the front of the Atrium, large red and white lampshades were hung cascading light through the room.

A rendering of the new seating area from the Baker Group and Moser Mayer and Phoenix Associates, PA.

The seating area will be open in fall 2011 and will provide an open zone for students to eat, relax and chat with friends.  The red and green color scheme will continue in the seating area as splashes of color cover chairs, light fixtures and carpet.  The front of the Atrium will bring in natural sunlight with floor-to-ceiling windows.  Beginning in fall 2011, the Atrium will also bring in the moonlight–students will be able to enjoy their new digs until 10:00 p.m. nightly.

Installing track lighting in the seating area.

View from outside looking into the front area.

Wolf-Approved and Equivalency Friendly Options

Our dedicated staff of nutrition interns have created a list of Wolf-Approved and Equivalency-Friendly options at the Atrium!

Want to find menu possibilities that include a sandwich, side and drink?  Here’s your guide!  All items highlighted in red, fit within the $6.00 equivalency rate.

Summer is nearing, eat healthier by grabbing Wolf-Approved items, identified with an X.  To met Wolf-Approved standards, items must be low in fat and sugar, high in fiber with no trans fat.

Want more helpful tips from our interns?  Follow along throughout March as they blog for National Nutrition Month.

Menu Items


Thirst-Quenching Freebie!

We’re giving away the last 60 Atrium and Wolf Xpress branded water bottles this week!  Pick up this keepsake at the AllCampus Office in West Dunn, while supplies last.  Just mention this blog when you visit to receive your free water bottle!

While you’re visiting, put some extra cash on your AllCampus card!  Use it to cover extra expenses at the Atrium…like the Oreo Chocolate Parfait. Yum!

Atrium Water Bottle

Signs of Progress

This past Wednesday after many comments and suggestions from students, we placed directional signage in the Atrium!  Now when you enter the Atrium you are met with two options: go forward to dine at Delirious, Zen Blossom, Wolfpack-To-Go or Brickyard Pizza and Pasta or turn left to get in one of two lines for Chick-fil-A.

As we were hanging the signage, we heard many positive comments.  We hope that this instruction will solve some of the congestion issues that many of you voiced in the Atrium Satisfaction Survey.

Let us know what you think by commenting on this post or by commenting on our Facebook page!


Atrium Food Court Signage

Atrium Food Court Signage

Chick-fil-A Signage

Chick-fil-A Signage at Food Court Entrance

Chick-fil-A Signage

Chick-fil-A Signage Near Queue

Satisfaction Survey Sparks Communication

This past Monday, we released an Atrium Satisfaction Survey to see how you felt about the new concepts, the flow, the signage and more.  We’ve received over 800 replies in just three short days!  And your input has been invaluable. Keep it coming!

While we continue to receive feedback, I would like to address some of the concerns that many of you voiced:

>Meal Equivalencies

This was a hot topic.  We’ve aimed to provide a variety of tasty food options at reasonable prices, and we understand that trying to fit options in the equivalency rates are harder now.  But diving into some back story that we’ve mentioned on our Facebook page, if you compare our equivalency rates to neighboring institutions like UNC and ECU, you’ll see that the equivalency rates are not meant to cover the entire price of the meal, however, we do offer one of the highest equivalency rates around (ours is $5.75 for lunch and dinner compare to UNC who has no equivalency rate, students must place money in their “Flex Account” to purchase food at non-dining hall locations, similar to our Board Bucks program).

To plan out your purchases before stepping into the Atrium, consult the online menu with pricing.

> Traffic Flow

Having witnessed the Atrium during peak hours, I completely understand the frustration that some if you may feel when all you wanted was a quick lunch.  We have been working on signage to help alleviate this problem.  It should be up Monday afternoon!  We are also still waiting on signage for the front entrance that will help lead students to Zen Blossom, Delirious and the Wolfpack-To-Go cooler.

> Condiments, Silverware and Plastic Bags

Last semester, we began placing silverware, condiments and napkins in the Bubble to avoid congestion.  We understand the inconvenience of walking into the Bubble, but it is only temporary.  The new seating area will open in August 2011!  In the mean time, we’ll look into the possibility of making a few of the suggested changes.

> Cooler Items

Many of you have voiced that you would like to see some different types of items in the cooler section.  We aimed to provide a variety of health-conscious as well as tasty snacks, but it’s still a work in progress.  We’ll continue to make changes to the selections based on customer preferences.

> Extended Hours of Operation

We’ve mentioned this before, but we’ll be happy to do it again…They’re coming in August 2011!

> Recycle Bins for Eatery Containers

Currently, there are recycle bins located throughout the Brickyard where you can recycle eatery containers.  We’ll contact our friends at Waste Reduction and Recycling and see if we can get one placed closer to the outside of the Bubble (placing one inside could interfere with pick-up times since the Bubble closes at 4:30).

Speak Now

This past Monday, Technician ran an editorial entitled “Who wants a 24 hour C-Store on campus?”  According to the Technician, the possibility of University Dining extending hours in locations is possible, if the student demand exists.

Comic in the NCSU Technician by Brian Schultz

We completely agree!  We invited students to discuss the topic on our Facebook page and boy did we get a response (20 to be exact).  One of the things we heard in the Technician and online was…extend the Atrium hours of operation.

Done.  In August 2011, when the Atrium seating area is complete and the Bubble is long gone we will extend our hours of operation to better fit the needs of our campus community.  With the library only steps away from the now desired destination, I can sympathize with students.  When hunger calls, convenience is key, and sometimes a Chick-fil-A sandwich with pickles is the only thing that can satiate your appetite.

Although the Atrium is only one of our many locations, we have discussed the possibility of extending hours in other locations (and no it wasn’t in a dark back room).  It was actually in Talley student center last semester.  We asked selected students to attend focus groups on dining halls, the new Talley Student Center and Centennial food service.  We received a lot of greet feedback and based on the population we surveyed, we found that students have a demand for food service on campus, but only until 2:00 a.m.

So we’re asking. What do you think?   Is there a demand for food service past 2:00 a.m.?

Atrium Menu at Your Fingertips

The Atrium is in its second successful week of operation.  Along the way we’ve received a few suggestions, including giving you an online menu with pricing.  Without further ado…

Post the menu on your fridge or inside your notebook and share with friends!  We know how important it is for items to fit into equivalency rates for each meal periond.  With this handy guide, you’ll never have to guess again!

A Noteworthy Reaction

Randy Lait, Director of Dining Services, Greets Students

A Preview Party was held Sunday for lucky Golden Ticket recipients and guests.  Chancellor Woodson and student body president Kelly Hook were in attendance! Guests were welcomed into the Atrium by our very own “Willy Wonka” Randy Lait, senior director of dining and hospitality services. Upon entering, guests were delighted with the sleek new interior colors and decor. At each location, Atrium employees were dishing out samples of the new cuisine including, custom salads, wraps, Asian wok creations, sushi, pizza and pasta.

Sushi Samples at Zen Blossom

The Atrium opened its doors to the campus community this morning and the food and atmosphere have students buzzing! Check out what’s been rolling in on our Twitter page:

  • “got sushi for lunch…#bow #ncsu”
  • “eating a spicy chicken sandwich @ChickfilA in the new #ncsu Atrium. Looks awesome inside!”
  • “I’ve heard good things about the new Atrium!”
  • “Kudos to @ncstatedining for an awesome Atrium preview party tonight. The facility & food are amazing.”
  • “The new Atrium is so great! Fantastic job.”
  • “Overheard at the Atrium Golden Ticket Preview…”Man I’m coming here everyday.”
  • “Omg the Atrium is so awesome!!! Everyone needs to come tomorrow. Thanks @ncstatedining.

Salads Your Way at Delirious

Don’t just take their word for it! Visit our newly renovated location this week.  Get a “First Look” by watching a video from the Preview Party.  To view additional pictures visit our Facebook page.

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  • Project Schedule

    May 2010: Atrium closes for the summer to create a temporary serving area in the current seating area. The current serving area will be sealed off as renovations begin.

    August 2010: An interim food court consisting of Chick-fil-A, wraps, and subs will open in the current seating area. A temporary facility in the brickyard will provide seating during the construction. Construction of the new food venues is complete late December.

    January 2011: New serving area opens. Interim serving area is closed and transformed into new seating area. New restrooms are built. The temporary facility will continue to serve as the seating area.

    May 2011: Atrium is closed to complete renovations to the kitchen area and HVAC. Temporary seating area is removed from the Brickyard.

    August 2011: Finished Atrium opens.