Conversations dining hall transformed into Get & Go


Mikayla Alt

Conversations is one of two Get & Go locations for the 2022-23 school year.

ISU Dining added the Conversations dining center to the Get & Go dining system when the university opened its doors for the fall semester.

In previous years, Conversations was one of four of Iowa State’s sit-down dining centers. In May 2022, a decision was made to convert Conversations into a Get & Go center.

ISU Dining offered Get & Go meals in the 2021-22 school year, but the menu contained limited options and its only location was in the lower level of Union Drive Marketplace (UDM).

The dining staff added Conversations to the Get & Go system to expand the program after its initial introduction to campus.

“I toured other campuses around the country with portable meal options similar to Get & Go and brought the idea back to ISU,” said Karen Rodekamp, associate director of engagement. “A portable meal option is something that students desired.”

Get & Go is a take-out meal option offered to students through the university dining system. Students are able to use dining center swipes to grab a portable meal in between classes or on their way to their dorm.

The Conversations Get & Go offers 11 different food combinations every day and also has several daily specials. Chicken tenders are a popular favorite on the menu, according to several students.

Additional meal options include a buffalo chicken wrap, macaroni and cheese and a grilled hamburger. Each entree comes in a bundle with a side and a drink that students can select from a list of options.

The UDM location offers seven different meal combinations and also has a daily rotation. It’s smaller than the Conversations center and receives fewer orders.

The Conversations Get & Go serves over 1,300 students a day, and the UDM Get & Go serves hundreds of students each day.

Get & Go is an opportunity for students to squeeze in a meal without having to use a flex meal or dining dollars. The university offers several Cafe and “Fast Casual” dining options, but none of these options accept dining swipes.

However, the loss of Conversations as a dining hall limits students’ ability to sit down and eat on the east side of campus. Friley Windows and UDM are both on the west end of campus, leaving Seasons Marketplace as the only sit-down dining option near the Oak-Elm dormitories.

“Conversations was kind of our place beforehand,” said Holden Fahnhorst, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering. “We’d all just go in, sit in the basement and eat burgers. You just don’t get to hang out as easily anymore.”

The primary goal of Get & Go is portability, but ISU Dining is always striving to improve the program, Rodekamp said. UDM and Conversations will both incorporate new events to promote Get & Go in the future.

As the school year progresses, students can keep an eye out for various promotions in Conversations and UDM, including giveaway offers and prizes.

Additional information on the Get & Go program can be found on the ISU Dining website.