Article Written by Cameron Stenzel. Photo by Cameron Stenzel

St. Cloud State University has some food venues such as Chick-fil-A and Einstein Bros. Bagels for people who need a quick bite to eat. While those food venues are a quick pit stop, there is one place at St. Cloud State University that has a full dining experience where students, faculty, and the public can eat and socialize in one setting. Garvey Commons is a place where everyone can enjoy a full meal while socializing with friends, family, and new faces. Garvey Commons has been around since the early 1960s and this summer, Garvey Commons will be celebrating sixty years since opening its doors in 1963. 

As St. Cloud State University campus was rapidly growing in the late 1950s, Former St. Cloud State President George Budd proposed an idea to build a new cafeteria to replace the cafeteria at Stewart Hall. After the new building was completed in the summer of 1963, the building was named Garvey Commons after Beth Porter Garvey who was the first dean of women at St. Cloud State University. Garvey Commons proceeded to add two new dining rooms, additional serving lines, and a bakery that opened up later in 1965. In 1987, Garvey Commons was renovated to add more seating and a connector path linking Garvey Commons and Sherburne Hall. Today, Garvey Commons seats a total of over a thousand students who come in to enjoy a good meal.

When students come to Garvey Commons, they think about what is on the menu. They can choose whatever meal fits best for them to continue throughout the day. While students are eating, cooks and chefs work around the clock to make sure the meals are ready to go for students. Garvey Commons employees will also order shipments from around the state of Minnesota and work with the St. Cloud State food pantry and community garden to gather and bring in food. “I order 3 days a week from different purveyors we have,” says Executive Chef Norm Maish. “I’ve also partnered with the food pantry and collaborated with them on different events, while also partnering with the local community garden. One year, the community garden canned between five hundred to six hundred pickles in one day.”  

Every day, thousands of students who live on campus come to Garvey Commons to enjoy a good meal while also socializing with friends or working on homework. Sometimes Garvey Commons will hold special meal events to promote and recognize other cultures. One event that Garvey commons celebrates that brings everyone together is Thanksgiving. “One of the reasons we celebrate Thanksgiving at Garvey Commons is because a very large population on campus comes from other countries, and we realize that they’re so far away from Mom, Dad, and the comfort of their home,” says Director of Residential Living Michelle Jacobson.“We’re trying to create a safe environment for people who can call a second home and family through food.”

At the end of the day. cooks in the kitchen are hard at work to prepare a fine meal and bring smiles to students’ faces. “One thing I love about Garvey Commons is the time and effort that our chefs and our cooks put into making the food the best quality that they can,” says Marketing Director Lisa Lawson. “Our chefs and our cooks put their heart and soul into what they make, and we try, and we want to make the best food possible for our students.”

Garvey Commons will be having a celebration event planned for the next school year in the fall.


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