University ranked among top ten ‘Best Colleges for Food’
The University of Rochester’s dining services has been ranked 6th on the 2014 list of 75 Best Colleges for Food in America by The Daily Meal, an online publication that reports the latest culinary news and trends around the world. Nearly 200 SEIU Local 200United members work in dining services at the University, and they can take a good deal of credit for this honor.
In addition to the quality of the food, the rankings by thedailymeal.com, were determined by the “food scene of the surrounding area,” as well as nutrition, sustainability, accessibility, events, uniqueness, and “the overall quality of the dining experience.” The end result was based on a survey of more than 2,000 four-year college and university dining programs around the country.
“We’re thrilled at this acknowledgement,” said Cam Schauf, director of Campus Dining Services and Auxiliary Operations. “Not only does this recognize our focus on sustainability within dining services, but it helps us to spread the word about the things we’re working on, the values that are important to us.” Those values include partnerships with local bakeries, coffee roasters, farmers markets and more.
According to Schauf, local food is a driving force for the program, with more than 48 percent of all of the items sold and served on campus grown, raised, processed or wholly manufactured within New York State.
Perhaps the best example of the University’s food-service philosophy is Danforth Dining Hall, which was renovated three years ago. Danforth offers a rotating menu of fresh, made-to-order meals at multiple stations.
“Danforth looked like a high school cafeteria when I first came here,” said senior Kara King. “Now it has a modern look that’s really pleasing to the eye—almost like a cruise ship.”
Eight years ago, the University applied the concept in a new direction by encouraging students to use their flexible spending accounts—called URos—at neighborhood restaurants and businesses that agreed to accept the cashless payments.
“The purpose of the program is to make sure students found out about other dining options in Rochester,” said Schauf. “While we bring some of the local flavor to campus, we also want them to go off-campus and experience the community directly.”
The University also recently revamped its meal plans by working with students for more than 18 months. The dining program is based on six pillars of sustainability: fresh locally grown foods, responsible purchasing, waste-stream management, education and awareness, energy and water conservation, and green buildings and operations.
Recognizing that dining involves more than pleasurable experiences, the University employs a full-time nutritionist who works closely with University Health Service to counsel students on their dietary needs and preferences.
The University of Rochester has been named a Most Vegan Friendly University by PETA for the past three years.