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College Power Players: UC Santa Barbara

College Power Players: UC Santa Barbara

A special report from FM profiles the dining operations at the U.S. universities with the largest campus resident populations. See all colleges >>

28. University of California-Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA

Dining Head: Jill Horst, director of residential dining services
Total Enrollment: 22,225
Students Living on Campus: 8,738
No. of Meal Plans Sold: 8,930
Annual Dining Program Revenues: $45 million
Cost Range of Residential Meal Plans: included in room/board fee
No. of Residential Dining Halls/Commons: 4
No. of Retail Outlets: 0
Management: self-operated
Phone: (805) 893-2760

Dining at UCSB centers around four dining commons, which collectively serve over 2.7 million meals annually. Each has a distinct atmosphere and menu mix, but all reflect UCSB’s commitment to protecting, preserving, and regenerating environmental resources by practicing “earth-friendly” dining and helping UCSB on its way to becoming a sustainable community.

Portola DC looks out over an Olympic-size pool and palm trees and is known for its holiday themed events like a haunted house at Halloween, romantic desserts on Valentine’s Day and a chips and salsa bar with blended fruit drinks on Cinco de Mayo. De la Guerra DC, which showcases platform food production that prepares seasonal menu items “just in time,” is a beautiful, contemporary dining facility overlooking the UCSB lagoon and the Pacific Ocean and which serves a special late-night menu 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Monday-Thursday.

Ortega DC, known for its breakfasts, is open all day Monday through Friday for lagoon-side dining featuring a combination of home-style cooking and unique specialty items. Renovated a dozen years ago from a 1960s style cafeteria, Carrillo DC offers mountain, ocean and pool views and features 21st century cuisine prepared at platforms stations throughout the building, including fresh pizzas from a woodstone oven.

All recipes are made from scratch using fresh, natural ingredients. That includes fresh produce, of which 46% is grown within 250 miles of campus while 35% of total food purchases are considered sustainable by the University of California system's definition.

Residential Dining Services’ commitment extends to establishing strong education and outreach programs that provide opportunities for customers to engage in activities and learn about nutrition and sustainability by participating in tasting tables, food demonstrations, table displays and more.

Next: 29. University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Previous: 26. Northeastern University, Boston, MA

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