University of Oklahoma donates leftover food from dining halls

About 170 meals each day go untouched and were being thrown away before donation program started.

Scarcity of food may not be a problem on OU’s campus, but for many residents in surrounding areas, that’s often not the case.

To combat this problem, an OU Housing and Food Services initiative is in place which donates around 1,200 meals per week to a range of aide-based nonprofit organizations.

An average of 12,000 to 15,000 meals are served on campus daily, Housing and Food Services spokeswoman Lauren Royston said.

About 1,500 meal exchanges are used each day in Couch Cafeteria alone, cafeteria manager Sharrie Sanders said.

Even with so much food consumed on campus, approximately 170 meals are untouched and traditionally went to waste, Royston said.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
trail mix

We’ve added fueling stations in our units for our workers who didn’t have time to eat or just need a snack. We have areas set up with trail mix, crackers, cookies and water. It helps us avoid people feeling or getting ill, especially when we get closer to exam periods and student workers are studying and not taking the time to eat.

Ideas and Innovation
reusable coffee cup thermos

We were inspired by a book titled “Influence” to start a sustainable cup program called My Cup. All 15,000 new students receive a reusable cup with their name on it, which they can use at the dining halls. Personalizing helps them invest in the program and actually use it.

Menu Development
quinoa bowl

In a time of growing health consciousness, it might not be enough anymore for food to be merely filling. According to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report , diners are looking for food with a function, such as those with high protein content, immunity-boosting properties, antioxidants, probiotics and more. The data suggests 63% of consumers see these foods as healthier than those without any specific nutritional function—and would be more likely to buy them.

But are those stated preferences translating on an operational level? There, the answer is less clear. Baby...

Ideas and Innovation
phone bed call sick

We make people call and directly talk to their boss or supervisor if they are reporting an absence for a shift. While it is more cumbersome, it is a conscious decision. We have adapted and implemented electronic methods to obtain efficiencies in just about every other functional area, except for electronic absence reporting systems. The direct supervisor can put more pressure on an employee to show up—especially those with some form of the “Super Bowl plague”—than any electronic system can.

FSD Resources