Fueling fundraisers

Penn State University develops program to help dance marathon participants.

Published in FSD C&U Spotlight

THON participants cheer as the final record-breaking fundraising totals are revealed. This year, THON raised over $13 million dollars to fight pediatric cancer.

For many students at Pennsylvania State University, the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon—better known as THON—is an event that requires an entire semester’s worth of energy. A yearlong fundraiser dedicated to fighting pediatric cancer, THON culminates in a 46-hour dance marathon where 733 Penn State students didn’t sit, sleep or rest—they just danced.

That level of physical exertion requires a special diet and nutrition plan, and fortunately, Penn State Food Services was there to help out. “The students who dance at THON are altering their lifestyles; they’re not sleeping or eating for an extended period of time,” says Jim Richard, associate director of residential dining at University Park. “It’s hard to do that without a little organization, and we wanted to help.”

Although students have been dancing for THON since 1973, this year’s dance marathon—which took place Feb. 21 through 23—was the first year that Penn State Food Services had a specific THON committee. According to Richard, getting involved with THON was a natural fit for Food Services’ overall mission. “It really grew out of a desire to take care of our guests,” he says. “THON is a huge part of being a Penn State student, and all students dine with us. We wanted to support them.”

Richard also says that the department wanted to help make it easy for THON volunteers to choose foods that would keep them going during the event. One of the first things the committee did was label a selection of food choices—both in the all-you-care-to-eat dining commons and the campus c-stores—as “THON Approved” so that students could readily identify the best choices to make. Vetted by Culinary Support Services, these foods were caffeine free, low in sugar and contained high amounts of quality carbohydrates to keep up the dancers’ energy reserves.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

In a bid to beef up its presence in sports arenas and a variety of other large venues, Sodexo will acquire foodservice vendor Centerplate for $675 million.

Sodexo says the deal, which is expected to be finalized by the end of this year, will more than double its global footprint.

Centerplate, which serves as the foodservice operator for a number for stadiums, convention halls and other event spaces, brought in revenues of $998 million for the year ending June 2017, according to Sodexo. Centerplate was purchased five years ago by Olympus Partners, a private-equity company...

Menu Development
eggs

Loyola University Maryland took a new approach to all-day breakfast with an egg-focused concept.

Breakfast options were top of mind for students when asked what they would like to see on the menu at the university’s revamped Boulder Garden Cafe. Instead of creating an all-day breakfast station, however, the Baltimore-based dining team went beyond traditional options and created a concept that services all mealparts with eggs.

“It can be somewhat mundane,” says Executive Chef Don Crowther on why the team strayed away from the trendy all-day breakfast. At the eatery’s Sunny...

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Kansas has added a retail pass that allows students to purchase one to-go combo meal per day at cafes and markets on campus, the University Daily Kansan reports.

The pass is available on two different meal plans and is geared toward on-the-go students who don’t have the time to sit down and eat at a residence hall.

“It has increased the participation rate,” Jamie Reed, a service assistant for the school’s dining services, told the University Daily Kansan.

Over 1,800 students have used the pass since its debut at the beginning of the semester....

Industry News & Opinion

The University of Minnesota dining team has created a vegan student group in an effort to improve the school’s vegan offerings, Minnesota Daily reports.

The group was created by the school’s foodservice vendor, Aramark, and its campus sustainability coordinator, who is vegan, after receiving numerous complaints from students about the lack of vegan options on campus.

The group will this week host its first meeting, during which members will be able to share feedback and provide solutions to help enhance the school’s vegan offerings. Members will also keep a photo journal...

FSD Resources