Here at the U of R, we are proud to say we have the 6th best college dining in the country, according to the The Daily Meal. But could we do better? Of course, we can do “ever better.” We’re here to let you know what Dining has got in the works and, more importantly, what our competition has that we don’t. And for the price we pay for our meal plans, don’t we deserve it?
#5: Northwestern University
Every month they organize open meetings with the dietitian to discuss any concerns students, faculty and staff have about healthy eating.
Our alternative: Students can now contribute to change by utilizing the suggestion boxes outside dining halls on campus. Awesome, but how about some face-to-face interaction?
#4: Kennesaw State University
Twice a month this university has a “Black and Gold” night where they serve high class food such as lobster or steak. They also have a “Get Wild” night, featuring exotic foods such as rattlesnake and emu right in the main dining hall!
Our alternative: We already have The Boars Head Dinner at Douglass and the Filet and Crab Dinner in Danforth, but we could spruce these up with more modern additions. By shifting the focus away from the holidays, Dining could hold similar events more often. Plus, emu and rattlesnake? Yes.
#3: Columbia University:
To encourage students to cook in the dorms, Whole Foods now takes Flex dollars. What’s more… 52 percent of all of the food purchased by Columbia comes from vendors within 250 miles of campus.
Our alternative: Although we can use URos at many restaurants in the areas, there are no grocery stores where we can purchase ingredients off campus. Extending URos use to Wegmans would be…awesome.
#2: John Hopkins University:
Seniors are encouraged to participate in monthly food and wine pairings and the dining services purchase only cage-free eggs, hormone-free milk and locally-grown produce.
Our alternative: Chef Erik holds cooking demos for upperclassmen who don’t rely on the dining halls as frequently. Dining has also made a Beer Pairing Dinner part of Local Foods Week, but sometimes beer won’t satisfy the snobby connoisseur in you who craves a glass of wine.
#1: Bowdoin College:
We had to throw in some of their menu options just because they are so inspiring: mussels in butter sauce, haddock with jalapeños and squash fettuccine are just some meals offered. Their featured recipes are accessible online and on their iPhone app. Additionally, their on-campus meat shop only purchases meat from local butchers.
Our alternative: We already have CampusDish but it’s often inconsistent with what’s actually being served in the dining halls. Updating Dish and adding a section with college-friendly recipes using ingredients available on campus would really help us take it up a notch.
When asked, students are quick to agree that our food is something to be proud of and many could not think of something they would like to add to the service if they had the choice. I did, however, manage to scrounge up a few ideas:
Though you can pick up sushi at the Pit and Hillside, having a monthly or bi-monthly sushi night, where the sushi doesn’t look grey or taste a few days old, would break monotony and add some more diversity to the dining halls.
Who doesn’t enjoy a good smoothie? Especially when we’re kicking off Fall semester in August! Although the $5000K challenge proposed that we bring smoothies to campus, incorporating a smoothie bar with fresh fruit and yogurts would still be ideal.
More sides for chips (sour cream, salsa, guacamole):
More often than not there is a type of chip that accompanies our sandwiches in Danforth. Who eats chips on their own? Having sour cream, salsa and guacamole readily available at lunch and dinner would add a much needed balance of flavors.
By incorporating just a few of these suggestions we can rise from number six. The Daily Meal has already praised us for having one of the most sustainable dining services in the country (over 48 percent of all the ingredients served on our campus are grown, raised, or wholly manufactured within New York state). We’ve been named the Most Vegan Friendly University by PETA2 for three years and counting. Meatless Mondays in Douglass, no trays and small portions were all installed in an attempt to counter obesity. We just need a little push.
Other UR friendly tips?