Friday nights rock at UNK

Published in FSD Update

Students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) have a new reason to hang out on campus on Friday nights—and dining services has a new revenue source. At the start of the fall semester, dining services teamed with the university to launch Loper Live Music Nights, named after the university’s mascot. Held in the student union food court, the university partners with a local company to book talent, including UNK students, for the Friday night shows. “We were pretty slow starting out,” shares Mardi Engels, director of marketing for UNK Dining Services. “But we’ve really gained a lot of traction and promoted a lot of awareness about it and we’ve been getting a good crowd. The best nights have been when our own UNK students have performed.”

With the goal of keeping more students on campus on weekend nights, the university funds the program and dining services keeps one location open later to accommodate the event; instead of closing at 8 p.m. the location stays open until 10:30 p.m. on music nights. Food options include snacks, sandwiches, wraps and Starbucks coffee. Like dining services, students also benefit from the additional hours, as well as the music. “When they know Loper Live Music Night is going on, whether they’re there for music or for coffee, people just come in and study during that time, too,” Engels explains.

Loper Live Music Nights are generally held every other Friday, though there isn’t a fixed schedule this year. “There’s no real schedule. We pretty much [meet with the university programming committee] once a month and before each semester we see where the other university events fall and we fill in the gaps with Loper Live Music Nights,” Engels says.

Engels has had success promoting the event through social media, banners and signage placed throughout the student union and other campus locations and on the university calendar.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation

When it comes to sustainability, sometimes the smallest kitchen changes can make the biggest difference. When Chris Henning, senior assistant director of dining services for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, switched from standard latex gloves to nitrile gloves, he also set up a recycling program. Once recycled, the gloves are turned into playground equipment, bike racks and park benches.

Henning says the nitrile gloves have been a good fit for his department, both in terms of durability and cost. “Participating in the campus buying program reduces the cost, as [our]...

Ideas and Innovation
elderly old hands

A family’s request for at-home meal support for a patient at Lee Memorial in Fort Myers, Fla., led System Director of Food & Nutrition Services Larry Altier to uncover a gap in care. He saw that only 1% of patients had been coded (diagnosed and labeled for billing purposes) as malnourished, while more than 60% of all Lee Memorial patients are over 65 years or older, a population that experiences the issue at a higher rate.

His discovery helped more rigorously identify malnutrition, but it also strengthened Lee Memorial’s community connection. The hospital launched a delivery...

Ideas and Innovation
nutrition facts label

Despite operators’ attempts to communicate nutrition information to guests via cards and labels on the food line, many guests still feel they have no clue what’s in their food. University of Illinois food economist Brenna Ellison shares a few guesses as to why consumers ignore these signs following a recent study on their placement in dining halls.

Q: Who is most likely to read the cards?

A: Students who were already exhibiting more healthy behaviors. So those were the students who track their intake using an app or a food diary. After the first week, we found the rates of people...

Managing Your Business
studient orientation

When an alma mater and an employer are one in the same, it can be a win-win for both the employee and the school. Here’s how two students’ experiences with campus dining—one positive and the other negative—led them on a path to their current jobs.

A Feast to Remember

NC State University’s main campus in Raleigh, N.C. was built on farmland given to the state by Richard Stanhope Pullen; every spring, students gather to celebrate those agricultural roots through Farm Feast, an outdoor celebration with food and music. Design major Christin King remembers her first Farm Feast vividly: “...

FSD Resources