Monday, May 7, 2012

'Feed the Turtle' A Glimpse at UMCP Dining Services

By: Angela A. Farris, MA

For three weeks I had the opportunity to rotate with the University of Maryland Dining Services operation. My partner and I were able to learn about a large scale food service operation in College Park, Maryland. We spent the bulk of our time at the South Campus Dining Hall, a hall catering to mostly upperclassmen, working in coordination with dining service staff to serve lunch, track inventory, observe and assist food delivery check-in, tour the bakery and provide an in-service presentation on Alpha Bac 10, a sanitizing agent.

In addition to working in the dining hall we had the chance to meet with several of the Dining Services Associate Directors to learn more about their role and their responsibilities within the organization. Conducting a dining services survey during the lunch hour in South Campus Dining Hall provided the experience of student interaction; one that was enjoyable and informative. We were able to collect 50 surveys about healthy choice dining.

Learning about dining services green initiatives was an exciting part of our time on campus. Touring the rooftop garden, the composting room, and reviewing all of the green initiatives on was informative and inspiring. Here are some other tidbits I learned about dining services:
  1. Nutrition analysis is available for all menu items sold in the South Campus dining room. Each item also has a description of any allergy that it may contain. These include symbols indicating a food is ‘peanut free’, ‘dairy free’, ‘gluten free’, and also for vegetarian or vegan.
  2. Dining services is supportive of sustainability and ‘green’ dining services. There is a page dedicated to each initiative that dining services participates in, for example: reusable carryout, energy and water conservation, and recycling.
  3. Dining services offers an extraordinary range of services, from fine dining to ‘to go’ shops to dining halls to catering. There is even a ‘goodies to go’ feature where students or faculty can take items to go for meetings or special events.
Check out UMCP dining services website for more information!

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