DC staff wants student input for vacant Hoot ‘n’ Scoot space

The Hoot ‘n’ Scoot on the Keene State College campus is undergoing a transformation this semester.

Keene State College (KSC) is making the former take out food spot into a market, hoping to stock the shelves with snacks, to-go meals, household items, and healthier alternatives.

The dining team as well as KSC administrators are teaming up to bring a fully-functional, convenience store style location to campus, hoping to host a soft opening after Thanksgiving break.

Students around campus have been wondering what the Hoot ‘n’ Scoot space was going to be used for for some time. A recent student assembly meeting mentioned the possibility of a fast food chain occupying the space, specifically Chickfil-A. However, KSC has deemed that not possible, and a partnership that would not align with the college’s values, thus removing that possibility from the drawing board.

Emma Wheeler, Class President for the Class of 2024, highlighted that she has had conversations with students from all over campus that wished for a better variety of food, specifically healthy food. She hopes the new Hoot ‘n’ Scoot market will bring a new mix of food that may not be offered at already existing dining locations on campus.

Jennifer Ferrell, Associate Vice President of Student Engagement, said that the dining team was present in the student assembly meeting two weeks ago to take feedback about what they would like to see in the new market. “We’re still in the midst of determining all of the types of things that will be in [the Hoot ‘n’ Scoot].”

Ferrell highlighted that the dining team is working hard to get the best outcome out of the Hoot ‘n’ Scoot market. “I think that there’s a lot of opportunity for us over the next couple years to talk through the other things that might be viable, popular, thoughtful [food] options.” The space’s preexisting usage posed an opportunity for KSC to turn the space into a market, allowing for a logical transition that Ferrell identified as a “short term win.”

Whitney Hightower is the Marketing Manager and Dietitian with KSC and Chartwells. She provided insight on the healthy food options side of the conversation. “The market [will be] where you’re going to find healthy grabn-go snacks, pre-wrapped sandwiches, precut fruits and vegetables and some larger entree items that you can take back to your [residential] hall or your [off campus] home.”

Hightower said that the team working on the Hoot ‘n’ Scoot is working on a food-based survey to send out to all students. The goal is to be sure they’re conscious of all options on campus so that the market can satisfy student needs while also providing variety to fill in the gaps of dining on campus.

Vegetarian and vegan options are also going to be provided more in this new market as a result of feedback. Hightower wants students to be aware that the dining team knows “healthy” looks different for everyone, and hopes that feedback around the Hoot ‘n’ Scoot can help them provide for the majority of students. The goal of the new market is to bring a different and “illuminating” point of view to healthy options.

Both Ferrell and Hightower emphasized the importance of feedback from future Hoot ‘n’ Scoot market shoppers. The development of the new and improved Hoot ‘n’ Scoot is still in progress and KSC is looking forward to the soft opening.

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