UMass Amherst offers 12 new on-campus food stations

From vegan to gluten-free, this campus offers a little bit of everything.

Sept. 12—David Placzek selects raw vegetables from a food counter and drops them into a bowl. In go pieces of onion, rounds of squash, broccoli florets, and slices of colorful bell peppers. He hands it to a chef at a wok, and asks for chicken with spices. In minutes, Placzek’s steaming stir-fried lunch is ready to eat.

The 21-year-old University of Massachusetts-Amherst senior has just visited one of 12 food stations in the newly renovated Hampshire Dining Commons. He might have also sampled made-to-order sushi, rotisserie chicken, gluten-free enchiladas, blackened tilapia, vegetable spaghetti casserole, and more. “I love how many options the dining commons always have out,” Placzek e-mails later.

Last month UMass-Amherst was ranked No. 3 in The Princeton Review’s top 20 for the Best Campus Food list. Findings are based on a recent survey of 126,000 students at 378 colleges. (In 2003, UMass-Amherst food was so bad it made the top 20 list for “Is it Food?”) What distinguishes the dining options now, according to nutritionists and food service representatives, is its commitment to healthy and sustainable food. The campus has four main dining commons, but it is Hampshire, which opened Aug. 6 after nine months and a $15.5 million renovation, that the university hopes will be a model for others around the country.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Sodexo aims to reduce carbon emissions by 34% at its foodservice and facilities management sites by 2025, a goal it says it will reach through such changes as converting cooking oil into biodiesel fuel and using energy-efficient HVAC systems.

In announcing this endeavor toward sustainability, Sodexo—which manages more than 32,000 sites globally—noted that over 7,200 of its sites in North America recycle aluminum and paper, and 8,640 recycle cardboard.

Ideas and Innovation
tray number

We created lucky tray days to help create an experience surrounding our brand. The trays are numbered; we pick a number and the winner receives a free lunch. We’ve enlisted the help of one of our coaches, who calls out the random lucky winner, and it drums up a lot of excitement.

Menu Development
recipe revamp chicken soup

As a continuous care retirement community, The Garlands of Barrington in Illinois provides daily foodservice to 270 independent living and skilled nursing care residents, with the majority of sodium restrictions coming from the latter, says Executive Chef Nicola Torres. Instead of cooking two versions of chicken noodle soup—a favorite offered at least twice a week—he reworked his recipe into a flavorful lower-sodium version that appeals to all. “Everybody eats soup, so I created a homemade stock that uses no salt at all, ramping up the flavor with fresh herbs and plenty of vegetables,...

Ideas and Innovation
bus advertising jagermeister

Because many locals use the bus system, we paid for some full bus wraps to advertise [job openings within] our dining services program. The buses go all over campus where students can see them, and to apartments where the public can see them. To top it off, the cost wasn’t much more than newspaper rates.

FSD Resources