Colleges nationwide offering kosher dining services

According to Heart to Heart, 144 colleges and universities offer kosher food options.

ENGLEWOOD, N.J.—The options for Orthodox-Jewish students looking for colleges outside the New York metropolitan area are greater than they have ever been before, according to an independent educational consultant.

“Many schools with historically low numbers of Jews are actively working to recruit more by building Jewish student centers and creating kosher dining options as part of their recruitment strategy,” says David Twersky, founder of College Link Consulting, a professional practice that assists students and parents in the college selection, application, and admission process.

He recognizes that Shomer Shabbat students who observe kashruth and would like other observant Jews for company have traditionally preferred large, urban universities. Increasingly, he says, they are turning to smaller, rural schools and colleges without large Jewish populations.  According to Hillel International, nearly 25 percent of Jewish college students in North America attend schools with small numbers of Jewish students and limited Jewish resources.

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The University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., will soon switch over from magnetic strip-based student ID cards to chip-based ones, The Observer reports.

Along with being more secure, the new cards will allow students easier access to dining halls, enabling them to simply tap their cards on a reader to gain entrance. Students will also be able to add flex points and Domer Dollars—which can be used at eateries on and off campus—to their accounts via a mobile app.

The new cards are expected to be available by the time school begins next fall.

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University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has replaced a fajita bar in one of its dining halls with a superfoods bar, Tommie Media reports.

Aiming to provide more options for athletes and students with dietary restrictions, the new bar offers diners a choice of protein with a variety of toppings, such as beans, fruit, couscous and quinoa.

The superfoods bar has made a few appearances on campus since it was first tried for the school’s football players last summer.

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gluten free diet

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A large part of menuing allergen-friendly cuisine is deciding which gluten-free items to serve.

In particular, college dining hall operators must decide whether to make gluten-free items in-house or to order gluten-free items from a manufacturer. Some factors to consider are: the size of the university, the demand for gluten-free options,and the ability to have separate gluten-free storage and workspaces in the university dining hall kitchen.

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Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., is using robots to help deliver patient meals, BCTV reports.

The eight robots, named TUGs, will be used to transport meals from the hospital’s nutrition services department to patient floors at Reading HealthPlex for Advanced Surgical & Patient Care.

Moving at three miles per hour, the robots will follow preprogrammed routes to the HealthPlex, where room ambassadors will remove room service carts from the TUGs and deliver them to patients. The TUGs will then return to nutrition services with dirty dishes for cleaning.

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