Creating a bridge between college and community

Creating a bridge between college and community

Blackburn College’s dining hall isn’t strictly limited to students; county citizens can enjoy a meal there as well. Pictured from left to right are Victory Odunukwe and Jessica Baalman.


By Jess Bordignon

CARLINVILLE, Ill., Aug. 3, 2017 — Blackburn College is an integral part of the Carlinville community; however, citizens may not be aware their services aren’t just for students. Both the dining hall and campus bookstore (housed in the Demuzio Campus Center) have opportunities for county residents.

General Manager of Blackburn College Food Services Joe Piechowski outlined the prices and hours for community guests looking to have a meal at the Blackburn Dining Hall during the fall 2017 semester. Continental breakfast is served Monday through Friday from 7-9:30 a.m. for $4.87 per meal; lunch is served Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. for $6.22 per meal; dinner is served Monday through Thursday from 5-6:45 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 5-6 p.m. for $7.57 per meal; and brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for $7.03 per meal.

Piechowski said the dining hall also offers special dinners. “We occasionally run events like steak or wing night. This allows guests to enjoy that particular item with the rest of what we have to offer. Diners can pay $8.05 for this opportunity,” he said. The menu is updated on a semester basis with a four-week rotating schedule. The menu can be found on; hover over the “Current Students” tab and click on “Weekly Menu” underneath “Dining Services.”

Community guests also receive a frequent dining discount; this is a cash-only opportunity. With every third meal purchased, they can receive a fourth meal for free. Children under 12 eat free with a paying adult.

Piechowski wanted to note that Blackburn Food Services provides inside and outside catering as well. “We can do anything from a 10-person breakfast to a 200-person wedding,” he said. “Interested parties can either email me at or call (217) 854-5524 for further details.”

Bookstore manager Mackenzie Bryant explained that Blackburn College facilities can also be used by the community for events. A list of campus venues available for rent is provided at

Additionally, Bryant was eager to encourage community members to check out the campus bookstore’s services. She said, “We have books, clothing, campus memorabilia ranging from lanyards to license plates, art supplies and stamps.” The store is open during the fall 2017 semester from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. on Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

Bryant said county citizens can utilize their online store if they can’t drop in. “Not everything that’s in-store is online,” she said. “However, we do have Blackburn-themed items as well as apparel. Items can either be shipped or picked up in-store.” Clothing is designed by the students, and their stock changes both in store and online from year to year.