Dining Hall and Community Commons Programmatic Committee


Mission and Scope | Current Timeline | Project Updates | Current Membership

Mission and Scope

The College's recent self-study on “Learning, Working, and Living Outcomes,” and the subsequent work of the Self Study Action Committee and Re-imagining the Student Experience: A Visioning Exercise, revealed the desire for more spaces on campus that facilitate socialization, active learning, and community-building. The Dining Hall and Community Commons Space Programmatic Committee was formed to help facilitate plans for a revitalized dining hall and central commons space, intended to foster meaningful connections among students, strengthen relationships between students, staff, and faculty, and sustain learning beyond the classroom.

In the Spring of 2018, the committee began the work of envisioning how to bring such a space to the heart of campus by taking on three interrelated goals: Firstly, they will evaluate and prioritize community needs for dining and gathering on campus; With that knowledge, they will next begin to determine what type of space or spaces might be needed; Lastly, they will investigate the operational requirements of the proposed facility or facilities.

This work will be driven by the following key questions:

Community building

How will this space foster connection, collaboration, and resource-sharing among students and between students, faculty, and staff?


How will this space be welcoming for, inclusive of, and accessible to all members of our community?


How will this space embody Swarthmore’s commitment to sustainable environmental practices?

Current Timeline

  • Summer 2018: Infrastructure, engineering, and site plan review of Sharples to be completed.
  • Summer/Fall 2018: Search begins for dining consultants that will support the programmatic committee by gathering community feedback, creating a dining master plan, and assisting in the designing and building process.
  • Fall 2018: An architectural firm selected to develop a design and manage the building process.
  • Fall 2019/Spring 2020: Design of Phase 1, the new dining hall, to be complete.
  • Summer 2020: Construction on Phase 1, the new dining hall, to begin, design process for Phase 2, community common space, to begin.
  • 2022: Phase 1 construction to be complete, Phase 2 construction to begin.
  • 2023: Phase 2 construction to be complete.

Progress Updates

September 2018

President Valerie Smith announced that the renovation of Sharples will be funded in large part by a generous gift from Gil Kemp '72 and Barbara Guss


May 2018

The committee met weekly between February 20, 2018 and May 1, 2018. At this first stage, our conversations focused on evaluating the needs of an updated campus dining program. Through discussion, the following emerged as desired components of a dining hall and community gathering space, which should:

  • Serve as a centralized campus hub and offer a sense of community to students, faculty, and staff.
  • Include flexible spaces and varied seating arrangements for dining, meeting, and socializing.
  • Facilitate entrepreneurial ventures, new partnerships, and resource sharing.
  • Support relaxation, socializing, and fun.
  • Be fully accessible.
  • Offer more diverse, local, organic, and sustainable food options.
  • Expand the dietary accommodations program with more dedicated serving stations/areas.
  • Provide easy access for food deliveries and waste removal.
  • Integrate charging stations and other smart technology, including high-efficiency appliances and lighting.
  • Incorporate natural light and indoor and outdoor gathering spaces.
  • Offer extended hours and late-night dining options.    

Current Membership  

This membership list is current as of May 2018. If you have any questions about the Committee or would like to share your input, you may contact Committee Chair Anthony Coschignano at acoschi1@swarthmore.edu for more information.


Leadership Team 

Chair: Anthony Coschignano, Executive Director, Auxiliary Services

Greg Brown, Vice President of Finance and Administration   

Linda McDougall, Director, Dining Services


Committee Members

Andrew Barclay, Assistant Director, Dean’s Office

Karen Borbee, Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach

Ali Craig, Senior Associate Director, Volunteers

Mark Dumic, Director, Networking and Telecommunications

Randall Exon, Sara Lawrence Lightfoot Professor of Studio Art

Rachel Head, Assistant Dean and Director for Student Engagement

Brenna Heintz, Assistant Dean of Admissions

Mike Hill, Director of Public Safety

Jeff Jabco, Director of Grounds and Coordinator of Horticulture

Emma Kassan '20

Jonathan Kriney '20

Jack McGowan, Facilities Management

Chip Proctor, Manager of Administration, Environmental Services

Rabbi Michael Ramberg, Jewish Student Advisor

Alexandra Sastre '05, Communications

Claire Sawyers, Director, Scott Arboretum

Peggy Ann Seiden, College Librarian

Jan Semler, Director, Capital Planning and Project Management

Sam Smemo, Associate Director for Operations, Public Safety

Susan Smythe, ADA Program Manager and Senior Project Manager

Aurora Winslade, Director, Sustainability

Adora Zhang '21