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The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has sent a set of recommendations to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on ways the USDA can ease pressure on school nutrition programs struggling with procurement problems.

5 things: SNA asks USDA Secretary for supply chain help

This and some students questioning a pricey new campus dining hall are some of the stories you may have missed recently.

In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Students question need for new $38 million dining facility

A colossal new international-themed dining hall called One World Cafe slated to open on the campus of the University at Buffalo has some students questioning the project and its $38.7 million price tag while the university has been making cost reductions in the face of the COVID pandemic. The university counters that the majority of One World Café funds were reserved for dining projects, so the money didn’t come out of other university initiatives.

Read more: Students question if $38 million One World Café is worth it

  1. SNA letter asks USDA Secretary for help with procurement struggles

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has sent a set of recommendations to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on ways the USDA can ease pressure on school nutrition programs struggling with procurement problems. It urges USDA to ease a variety of procurement, meal pattern, monitoring and reporting requirements to reduce burdens on program struggling to secure food and supplies for students while also meeting federal regulatory mandates. The letter also calls for additional financial support for school meal programs.

Read more: SNA Sends Letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack to Address Supply Chain Disruption in Schools

  1. Binghamton University debuts new dining complex

Binghamton University has opened its newly renovated Hinman College residential community dining center featuring nine dining concepts, expanded seating and an additional 26,000 square feet of space. Among the concepts added with the renovation are Neapolitan Pizza, Noodle House, Wrap & Roll and Garden Grill that are new to campus and exclusive to Hinman, as well as a platform dedicated to vegan and vegetarian options and numerous menu items sensitive to dietary restrictions. Additions slated to debut in the complex over the next month include a rooftop terrace, a Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill unit and the Culinary MakerSpace, which features a commercial-grade kitchen and complete dining room designed to host student group special events as well as guest chefs and culinary educaiton sessions.

Read more: New and improved Hinman Dining Center opens

  1. British Columbia to end private dining contracts in healthcare sites

Workers employed by private contractors that provide housekeeping and food services at acute health-care facilities in British Columbia will have their employment returned to provincial health authorities. The Canadian provincial government says it will serve notice starting this fall under the terms of 21 commercial contracts of its intention to start returning the workers' employment to the health authorities in phased-in approach that will affect about 4,000 workers.

Read more: B.C. to phase out private housekeeping, food service contracts in acute care

  1. VCU plans new grocery store in former Walmart space

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and dining services provider Aramark plan to open a grocery store called the Ram City Market in a 4,100-square-foot space on the Monroe Park campus that used to house a Walmart outlet. Expected to open either late fall or early spring, it will sell groceries as well as to-go coffee and made-to-order sandwiches, will be open to the public and will let student customers use their meal plan accounts.

Read more: Ram City Market to open in empty Walmart store on Grace

Bonus: Fresh veggies, smart recruitment tactics on the table at Morrison Healthcare’s Mayo Clinic farm-fresh chef demo booth at a farmers market

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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