As a semester like no other continues to unfold at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., the dining team has been looking for ways to safely engage students, especially those with dietary restrictions.
“This semester has been hard on our campus community,” says Director of Nutrition and Wellness Lauren Smith. “With limited capacity and social distancing measures in place, it can be difficult to engage with students.”
One event the team came up with was a virtual plant-based recipe swap and potluck during which students following a plant-based diet could virtually meet and share recipes.
Students who wanted to participate submitted a brief online form, including their recipes, ahead of time. During the actual event, led by Smith, students logged onto Zoom with their meals and were able to introduce themselves, talk about their favorite foods and describe the dish they had prepared.
They also discussed vegan restaurants in the area, new plant-based products available on the market and how the university could increase support for incoming vegan and vegetarian students. After the event, each participant received the recipes for the dishes made by their peers.
“[Students] really enjoyed having the opportunity to meet new people and share tips, recipes and restaurant recommendations,” says Smith, who wants to do more virtual events like this in the future.
“This was a pilot for our series,” she says, “and we hope to host more virtual potlucks during the upcoming months.”