Monday, November 3, 2014

Ready, Set, Go! Campus Dining in 3 Weeks

For your average dietetic intern, 3 weeks at any rotation site can fly by in a blink of an eye! Over the last 3 weeks my internship partner Rory and I ended our food service rotation with Campus Dining at the University of Maryland, College Park. Although this rotation only lasted for a few weeks, it was packed with valuable learning experiences.

In the Beginning…

During the beginning of our rotation, we were introduced to several key players on the Dining Services team, including Sister Maureen and the marketing team, to learn the logistics of running an operation with the size and scope as College Park.  We were also given the chance to interview and shadow other vital members of the team to learn and observe their responsibilities including:

·         A Morning with Mario- Rory and I spent a morning learning how to receive, put away, and order new food products for South Campus Dining Hall. With over 20 years of experience he made it look easy!

·         Money Sense with Lorraine- One afternoon we spent time with the associate director, Lorraine DiPrima. Lorraine taught us about the importance of keeping a balanced budget for any business. She even taught us how to create a budget from scratch!

·         Human Resources with Shirlene- During our conversation with Shirlene, assistant director, we learned the strategy of hiring the best people. The hiring process utilized at Campus Dining is detailed to ensure quality people are chosen to create the feeling of home for College Park students.

As we learned the roles and responsibilities of the different team members, we also worked on our rotation projects.  We had several to complete in just 3 short weeks. Time management was key as many of our days were stop and go.  Our projects included creating multiple table tents, nutrition articles, wellness walls for employees, creating a sustainability poster, and several others; all of which will be used as nutrition education tools to reach College Park students while in the dining halls. By working with the marketing team I learned how important the health and well-being of students is to the Campus Dining team. Every effort is made to make education tools easy to read with the latest nutrition information. Dining Services uses multiple resources to help foster healthy habits and lifestyle choices in the College Park student.

Let there be Lobster…

My partner and I were also able to help and volunteer at two special events hosted by Campus Dining.  The first, Lobster Fest, was super fun AND delicious! Students had the option of using their meal plan for a traditional, freshly steamed Maine Lobster dinner. We served students on the buffet line which never seemed to end! The lobsters were huge and came with all the fixings, which students loved. We even took a picture with the only lobster lucky enough to avoid the steamer!

We also had the chance to volunteer at a food drive, Campus Pantry, during homecoming week.  Campus Pantry is a new initiative by Campus Dining to help reach students and staff in need of food assistance. We helped at the kickoff event collecting food. Bins and signs were set up at several locations around the campus mall.

On the Last Day…

The last day of our rotation was the most tasteful! We presented our theme meal to the Dining Services team along with a presentation of final projects. With the help of Chef George, we created a beautiful fall meal consisting of fall starter salad of multicolored baby potatoes in a vanilla vinaigrette; roasted pork with cranberry walnut stuffing with a port wine demi glaze sauce; roasted acorn squash with pear, quinoa, and kale; roasted asparagus, parsnip, and carrot wrapped in bacon; and for dessert, apple crisp parfait. Our presentation went very well and our meal was amazing!

Finally, although our time at Campus Dining was short we had the most amazing experience! We learned a great deal of information regarding the day to day operations of a food service system servicing over 40,000 students and staff! As a dietetic inter your rotation does not have to be long or lengthy for you to have the opportunity to learn. Campus Dining at College Park is one example of how quality can trump quantity. Whether your rotation is 3 days, one week, or ten weeks, make the best of it! Your rotation is what you make it! 


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