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Articles: Dining Halls

The new Village Center at CU Boulder offers those students multiple dining options, study and collaboration spaces, conference amenities, and a health clinic.

Boston University has seven certified restaurants (more than any other college or university) and the GRA has verified the institution has the greenest food court in the nation.

Most higher ed institutions have issued plastic campus cards for decades based on a 30-year business model. Perhaps it’s time for administrators to review this process in light of current technology and dramatic shifts in generational expectations.

SAFE ZONE—Kent State higher ed students with gluten intolerance need not worry when eating at Prentice Café, since the entire facility is gluten-free.

The number of U.S. colleges offering gluten-free dining options is rising, as more people learn about the seriousness of celiac disease, says Chris Rich, vice president of development for the Gluten Intolerance Group.

Colleges and universities taking extra care to improve the safety and quality of life for students with food allergies can participate in the Food Allergy Research & Education’s College Food Allergy Program, which launched in 2014.

In 2015, FARE chose 12 colleges nationwide to participate in a pilot program, and in 2016 the organization announced the expansion of the program to 23 additional institutions.

One of the overall goals is improving access for potential students and parents to information about food allergy accommodation efforts at colleges and universities.

The Core Campus Project—a mixed-use addition to Clemson University—includes student housing, retail and residential dining, and is also a centralized home for the Calhoun Honors College.

Students Kylie Campanelli and Chad Marvin operate a hydroponic lettuce farm that lives inside an upcycled, 40-by-8-foot shipping container at Stony Brook University in New York.

Designed by the company Freight Farms, the hydroponic lettuce farm inside a shipping container at Stony Brook University in New York uses 90 percent less water than traditional growing methods to provide an acre’s worth of leafy greens to campus dining halls.

Students use farm-management technologies such as cloud-synced growth data and a smartphone app to control lighting.

After years of working with multiple food service vendors and local restaurants, Carnegie Mellon University brought fast-casual bakery chain Au Bon Pain to campus. The school’s first experience with a national restaurant franchise, it was a 12-month process from the brainstorming phase to opening the doors to hungry students.

When a trio of students at Christopher Newport University in Virginia wanted to start a program to collect leftover food from the dining halls each night and deliver it to a rescue mission, the director of the university’s dining services had some questions.

Drumming up support for a program where food service gives back can involve highlighting a prominent, well-loved individual within campus dining.

Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College in Minnesota, for example, named a food pantry after the school’s first housing director, Bruce Carlson, who died unexpectedly in 2010.

Behind the scenes at the University of Vermont, chefs work with dining  program administrators to deliver student-requested items in a cost-effective manner. This can involve partnering with local food providers.

Colleges and universities that provide fresh, high-quality food do more than please students—offering good food is also good business. Here are several ways dining program leaders can increase satisfaction and meal plan participation while keeping operating costs stable.

Students, faculty and staff at the University of Vermont can eat foods prepared in the certified kosher kitchen, which is operated by Vermont Kosher LLC. In addition, a line of kosher grocery items is available for purchase.

What do you see as the biggest trend in meal plan design?

A pair of draft horses often plows the campus farm at Sterling College. Sterling does have tractors—its agriculture students have to learn how to use all varieties of equipment—but the energy-saving horses are just one step in the Vermont school’s extensive and award-winning sustainable dining program.

The farm produces about 20 percent of the food consumed in the college’s dining hall.

Whether it’s purchasing textbooks every semester or meeting daily needs such as meals, snacks or health and beauty aids, students who find the right dining and retail stores on campus have a better college experience.

Many higher ed institutions are adding shops and brand-name eateries, as well as renovating bookstores to keep up with current technology trends.

Half the profits from student-run food carts at the University of Illinois at Chicago go back to the institution, through a partnership with Chartwells Higher Education.

For today’s college students, on-the-go lifestyles present a challenge when it comes to finding time to eat, and, more specifically, eat well.

In 2010, when Adriana Marie Reyes of The University of Arizona surveyed 219 undergraduate students for her honors thesis on what influences college students’ eating habits, 82 percent said they would eat healthier if time were not an issue.

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