As part of its commitment to catering to the student body’s diverse dietary states, Dining Services at Ohio State this spring will bring in more initiatives to keep campus fueled in sustainable and transparent ways.
The Spring Semester will see many of Dining Services’ efforts from last year continued and expanded. These include creating direct trade relationships with coffee farmers in Central America, purchasing Ohio-grown chicken, buying more than 85 percent of liquid dairy from more than 200 dairy farms in Ohio and adding menu options that cater to a multitude of tastes and dietary needs, such as gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian.
“We go to a lot of conferences throughout the year to see what the latest trends are and what students are liking and we also stay in touch with a lot of other colleges and universities,” said Gina Forster, assistant director for nutrition and Dining Services.
Starting Monday, limited time offer dishes will be available at various cafes and market locations on campus. Some of these items include a chicken salad bento box, various types of quinoa salads, squash and zucchini noodles at the various pasta stations across campus, sweet potato salad with pepitas found at Curl Market, and a blend burger — a half-mushroom and half-beef burger served at all Traditions locations.
“One thing I am really excited about that we are adding this spring is we are using jackfruit,” Forster said. “We are actually adding it to some of our menu items in some of the limited time offer dishes as a meat substitution in sandwiches and tacos.”
Other menu updates can also be found at Traditions locations. Vegan cupcakes will be added to the rotation of desserts served throughout the spring. AtScott Traditions in particular, two or three Indian dishes will be on the menu at least twice a week.
While menu changes and purchasing decisions are ultimately made by Dining Services staff, many of the updates and changes are prompted by student feedback. Students can contribute feedback by attending focus groups and food fairs offered by Dining Services throughout the year.
Students can offer their opinions on the latest trends being considered during the upcoming Dining Services food fair on Tuesday. Various vendors will be on hand to present food items that Dining Services is trying to promote, and items that they are considering bringing into the university.
Dining Services also is implementing technology to make it easier for students to stay updated on the latest menu items and other important information. The Dining Services website not only has a list of all dining locations on campus, but also menus for each outlet and the dietary nutrition facts and ingredients for all food served.
This semester, it has expanded upon its MyCup program to bring the MyCup Cupanion to campus. The Cupanion is made specifically for hot drinks to help reduce the number of paper coffee cups in campus cafes.
“At Scott, paper cups are now hidden under the counters and not at convenience anymore,” said Sean Dupiano, Scott Traditions student ambassador. “Ohio State as a whole is trying to be eco-friendly and that’s why the MyCups are encouraged.”