The University of Missouri offers many resources to benefit students’ dining experiences from nutritional facts, dietary restrictions to promotions and environmentally green thinking. MU’s Campus Dining Services excels in all these areas, and provides a well organized, thorough website.
A quick scan through the site, and students will find restaurants providing foods that fit their dietary needs. There is also a featured tool that allows students to select and submit dietary needs and work one-on-one with the campus dietitian, Kristen Hasan.
“I love working close with students, and having that rewarding feeling of being able to help them with their dietary needs,” Hasan said.
Students cal also use the site to stay up-to-date on upcoming events and specials.
“In the month of March, we have a lot of promotions and events going on because it is National Nutrition Month,” said Hasan.
Wastefulness is a concern to MU Dining, which is why they have taken action to prevent it. Educational posters encouraging students to make smarter choices on portion sizes decorate the walls of the dining halls.
A substantial decrease in waste was accomplished in 2011, when the all-you-can-eat dining halls went trayless. According to the website, this reduced waste by about 15,000 pounds per month. Campus Dining executives also started composting food waste with a zero carbon footprint vegetable and compost production system. The waste is taken to Bradford Farm to be turned into compost, which is then used to create more fertile soil. This soil is used for plant production, and the products are purchased by MU Food Services.
Bradford Farm is not the only local producer for campus food, though. MU also purchases products such as tortillas, coffee, cage free eggs and some bakery goods from local farms such as Goatsbeard, Pierpont and Missouri Legacy Beef. Cooking oil is also recycled from the dining halls and transported to Bradford Farm. It is then repurposed as biodiesel for the farm’s tractors.
There are fridges with special meals and items for the students with allergies, diseases, or requiring a special item.
“I like that when someone needs something gluten-free, there are those foods for them,” said Lauren Ho, an MU student. “In Rollins Dining Hall there is a fridge with all gluten free items they can request and have only about ten minutes later.”
Almost every campus restaurant provides vegan or vegetarian options.
“Now with social media, we have done a good job with keeping up on nutritional trends, Hasan said. “Although our biggest challenge would have to be with students wanting organic food, but is a challenge because it is much more expensive.”
According to Hasan, they are constantly working to make campus dining better and keep up with student needs and trends.