To help combat the silverfin that is threatening the Mississippi River ecosystem in 23 states,
University Housing Dining Services has purchased over 20,000 pounds of the species over the past three years, in dishes ranging from fish cakes and filets to fried whole. To help draw attention to the issue, University Housing teamed up with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to serve silverfin at the Illinois Lieutenant Governor’s tent at the annual Illinois State Fair two years ago.
At the beginning of the 2018 spring semester, University Housing Dining Services implemented the LeanPath Spark System at the Ikenberry Commons Dining Center to learn more about post-consumer waste and see if it has any noticeable impact on changing consumer behavior. If successful, plans are to implement this system in other dining units in the future.
Research found that the Penn Station campus c-store was too small for the traffic and volume it produced, and that the existing layout presented issues for guests requiring ADA accessibility,
so the space was renovated and expanded last summer from 1,110 to approximately 2,226 square feet. In addition, the two-door coolers were replaced with one walk-in cooler/freezer that provides more room for refrigerated stock and back stock along with increased energy savings. A sandwich line was also added where guests can order custom-made sandwiches, pizzas and wraps. The result has been a revenue increase in the venue of approximately 15% from the previous year.
A partnership between University Housing, IU’s Student Sustainable Farm and its Food Pilot Lab has resulted in a new sustainably produced pizza for the campus. It began when the Sustainable Farm began to grow too many tomatoes for University Housing to serve in its dining halls during the summer, so it began preparing the tomatoes as a sauce.
In an effort to streamline the process, it reached out to the Food Pilot Lab to pre-process the tomato product to speed up preparation. Success of this practice led not only to the Pilot Lab offering to cook and bag pizza sauce for University Housing but also an additional effort to grow, produce and mill local wheat for use in making pizza crust. The result is that University Housing is now piloting a program serving this site-produced pizza sauce and crust year-round at its FAR Out Pizza outlet.
For the December 2018 edition of its Uber Chef event, University Housing partnered with current third-year student, chef and founder of Dill food magazine Shayne Chammavanijakul. Uber Chef is a special culinary experience typically held twice a year in which up to 12 students are randomly selected to participate in a private dinner.
Finally, University Housing is incorporating an Inclusive Solutions micro restaurant into the Illinois Street Residence Dining Center opening in August of 2020. Inclusive Solutions is a resource for students with dietary restrictions in which they may enroll if they have an allergy or intolerance that is severe in nature or if they are concerned about cross-contact. It provides a mobile app for ordering customizable entrees, sides and desserts prior to arriving in the dining hall.