Meagan Jones

What sets Meagan Jones, environmental specialist for Housing & Food Service at the University of Texas at Austin, apart from the average employee is her high energy level and passion for sustainability.

Why Selected?

Scott Meyer, associate director of Housing and Food Service, says: What sets Meagan apart from the average employee is her high energy level and passion for sustainability. Her position is new for the department and Meagan has been instrumental in creating the framework of this position and setting goals for improvement. A few of the projects created include pre- and post-consumer composting, a reusable takeout container program, an herb and vegetable garden and a divisionwide green team.

Details

Environmental Specialist for Housing & Food Service, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
Age: 30
Education: B.S. in nutrition/coordinated program in dietetics from the University of Texas at Austin
Years at organization: 4

Get to know

Q. What has been your proudest accomplishment?

Working in an organization that has embraced sustainability so fully. I can’t take sole credit for any of the sustainability initiatives, but creating the first campus food garden and beginning a pre- and post-consumer composting program have been highlights.

Q. What would you say you excel at over more seasoned colleagues?

Being closer to the age of the students, I feel like I am able to identify with them more easily and can communicate to them more effectively. Also, sustainability has been more of a way of life through my lifetime, whereas this is a newer concept to some of my co-workers.

Q. What's the best career advice you've been given?

Choose your battles wisely. There are many things that I could choose to nitpick, but I try to go for things that will have the largest impact.

Q. What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome?

Since I am the first sustainability coordinator, I’ve had to blaze my own path and build the trust and respect of many of the people who have been here for a long time.

Q. What's been your most rewarding moment?

Recently, I was a judge at a Trashion show, which was a fashion show that used recycled/reusable materials. The student that was introducing the event was describing how our department is providing ways for students to live more sustainably, and it really hit me that the students do recognize and appreciate these efforts.

Q. What would you like to accomplish in your career in the next two years?

I hope to continue to work toward making our food service operation and all other parts of our division more sustainable as we all learn how to be better stewards of our environment.

Q. What's been your funniest on-the-job disaster?

A few years ago we were conducting plate waste studies, which involved scraping food into buckets. I tried to get sufficient volunteers [to help out] but many shifts would end up with just me and one of the dishroom staff left to scrape all of the food. In the middle of a rush, we could have dozens of plates coming back at the same time, and I would have to move as fast as I could to grab the plates before they passed me. I felt like Lucy in that scene at the candy factory, moving as fast as I could and getting half of the food on me instead of inside the bucket.

Under 30

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
condiments

It’s still true that diners want it their way. But the straightforward, choose-your-toppings Chipotle model is, as the kids say, so basic. The noncommercial diners of 2018 are coming to the table with expectations for meals that fit their personalized needs, from portion size to protein type, calories and more. Operators are responding by pushing beyond the basics with spice-your-own-soup bars, specialty condiment stations and serving size tweaks cooked a la minute.

For some operations, the next phase truly revs up the personal part of personalization, turning diners into chefs...

Managing Your Business
glendale senior dining catering

At the residential facilities Glendale Senior Dining serves, catered birthday and anniversary parties, summer barbecues and other private on- and off-site events give senior residents a convenient alternative to cooking themselves, Director of Business Development Todd Lindsay says.

For these events, Glendale, which serves locations throughout the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, will often tap employees from nearby units to take on catering events; and for weekend or summer engagements, it will reach out to the parent company’s school dining division for a few extra hands.

“We...

Industry News & Opinion
Shedd Aquarium White Sox Shedd The Straw

The Chicago White Sox have partnered with the Shedd Aquarium to support their “Shedd the Straw” initiative: a plan that the groups expect to curb the use of plastic straws by about 215,000 this baseball season.

Beginning on Earth Day, April 22, drinks at all dining locations throughout the Sox’s Guaranteed Rate Field will not be automatically served with plastic straws. Guests will be provided with biodegradable straws upon request. Guaranteed Rate Field is said to be the first in Major League Baseball to ban the use of plastic straws.

“At one of Shedd Aquarium’s local...

Industry News & Opinion

The Henry P. Kendall Foundation, a philanthropic group that aims to create a more sustainable food system in New England, has announced its creation of the New England Food Vision Prize .

The foundation is inviting foodservice leaders from colleges and universities throughout New England to submit their ideas on how to create a stronger food system that will help the region produce at least half of its own food by 2060.

Qualifying ideas must be collaborative and replicable, among other requirements. The foundation hopes that by reaching out to large food purchasers, like...

FSD Resources