19. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
Students Living on Campus: ~10,000
Dining Head: David Davidson, managing director
Total Enrollment: 21,000
No. of Meal Plans Sold: 7,100
Annual Dining Program Revenues: $64 million
Cost of Residential Meal Plan: $5,660/year
No. of Residential Dining Halls/Commons: 14
No. of Retail Outlets: 15
Phone: (617) 495-4812
While Harvard remains highly traditional with its “house” system in which each undergraduate residential house maintains its own dining room, an upgrade program is underway to modernize the facilities. To facilitate that, the university this fall is opening a new “Swing House,” complete with a new dining hall, that will accommodate students from houses undergoing renovation over the next few years.
Meanwhile, Harvard Dining has been working closely with the Harvard School of Public Health on adjustments to its menus to make them healthier. To that end it has recently begun offsetting the total percentage of animal protein in many dishes with vegetables.
It is also partnering with Mai Pham to offer her Lemongrass concept in both retail and residential operations and has worked with other noted local and international chefs to bring authentic ethnic and meatless recipes and offerings to its menus.
Seasonal menus in all operations have allowed Harvard to emphasize sustainable choices, with an emphasis on local in its buying priorities. These include produce sourced from more than 300 area farms/orchards along with locally produced baked goods, meats, dairy, pasta, seafood and other items.
A new salvageable food waste partnership with the Food Donation Connection and Food for Free is allowing Harvard to divert the majority of its end-of-meal-service leftovers to area food pantries and kitchens while the Farmers’ Market at Harvard recently celebrated its ninth season. For the first time, it will this year extend operations to Thanksgiving week to help the community enjoy a more local holiday.