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IMG_9058.jpeg Chartwells Higher Ed
Chartwells Higher Ed dining teams at 300 campuses participated in the four events over the course of the 2021-22 school year.

Best Concepts: Chartwells puts on a year-long Joy•Ful celebration of food and community

Chartwells Higher Ed’s Joy•Ful series of campus celebrations has been named winner of the 2022 FM Best Concept Award in the Best Special Event category.

Joy•Ful was developed by Chartwells Higher Ed as a year-long, national campaign aimed at welcoming students back to campus for the 2021-22 academic year and rekindling a sense of community with a series of events helping new and returning students connect and celebrate campus life with engaging and uplifting moments of joy centered around food. Four signature Joy•Ful events took place in unison across school campuses nationwide on four dates during the school year, covering issues ranging from food insecurity and sustainability to building campus community and generating random acts of kindness.

The four themed events were the following…

Festiful (September 24th) kicked off the school year with a delicious and colossal street food festival to welcome students back to campuses, simultaneously uniting some 1.5 million students at 300 campuses. Headlining the celebration was Celebrity Chef Jet Tila, who hosted a jambalaya cook-off at Louisiana State University amid a variety of food trucks, giveaways, photo booths and games for students to enjoy. There was also a serious side to the event as teams sought to spread the joy by helping others. For instance, Montclair State University hosted a food drive donation to support the campus Red Hawk Food Pantry while at the University of North Florida, the dining team donated $1,000 worth of product to the on-campus food pantry Lend a Wing while inviting students to assist in building the bags of food for their peers.

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Celebrity Chef Jet Tila (r.) with Chartwells Executive Chef Taylor Johnson of Louisiana State University, where Tila hosted a jambalaya cook-off as part of the Festiful event kicking off the school year on Sept. 24.

Thankful (November 18th) came just before the Thanksgiving break and aimed at not just bringing students together through a Thanksgiving meal but also offering thanks and giving back to local communities, with Chartwells taking the lead by donating 100 meals at each of its 300 partner schools for students in need. The University of Chicago not only put on a campus-wide canned food drive for the Kindness Campaign, a program that works to initiate social change and improvement in the Southside of Chicago, but Chartwells management surprised dining associates with gift cards for Butterball turkeys to help make their own personal Thanksgiving meals memorable and hosted a bake sale with Maya Camille Broussard and Justice of the Pies, matching each donation and sending them to The Kindness Campaign.

mi13.jpgPhoto credit: Chartwells Higher Ed

Photo:Delightful on Feb. 17 committed member campuses and their dining program associates to perform 500,000 acts of kindness, such as student-written Valentine’s cards for a local nursing home and writing notes of kindness on stuffed animals to be sent to a local children’s hospital.

Delightful (February 17th) committed member campuses and their dining program associates to perform 500,000 acts of kindness, with proceedings again MC’d by Tila. At SUNY Plattsburg, the Chartwells team showed up for the event by creating snack packs for the local blood drive, sharing free coffee coupons and student-written Valentine’s cards for a local nursing home and giving each associate a jumbo cookie with words of kindness. At Northwestern University, they wrote notes of kindness on stuffed animals to be sent to the local Lurie Children’s Hospital and packed 300 tote bags of school supplies for a local elementary school.

Capping off the year, Grateful (April 27th) coincided with Stop Food Waste Day and had the goal of encouraging students and staff to dine from plant-based menus, participate in activities that combat food waste and alleviate food insecurity, all designed to show gratitude for the planet, and advance sustainability on college campuses. Chartwells worked with suppliers to secure 50,000 Packed With Purpose bags that were put together with the help of students and distributed to local food pantries around the country.

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