Dining Services Makes Positive Changes

May 07, 2009

Dining Services

Rollins Dining Services Executive Chef Gustavo Vasconez (left) and General Manager Gerard Short

If you visited the bustling Marketplace in the Cornell Campus Center (CCC) from August 2008 through May 2009, you know first hand that business was brisk. Thanks to a variety of new additions, from authentic sushi to fresh fruit smoothies to sizzlin’ salads and Panera bagels, during the academic year, the CCC is the place to be.

“Students and employees have plenty of dining choices along Park Avenue,” said Dining Services Director Gerard Short. “We want them to stay here … and we want to be the best.”

Short, who joined Rollins in July 2006, is the driving force behind many of the positive changes. To guide decision making in creating some of the cuisine changes, he created a Food Service Committee—an advisory council made up of students from diverse backgrounds throughout campus. The Committee meets regularly to discuss what today’s students expect from a dining program.

“We really do listen and take action,” said Short, “and we’ll continue to make changes.” Some changes — like biodegradable products at Fox Berry Smoothies and a dinner station featuring locally grown organic foods — are just the first steps.

While sustainability efforts or “going green” is prevalent for schools in states like Oregon and California, Rollins College is leading the charge in Florida. At Fox Berry Smoothies, the “plastic” cup, lid and straw are made from corn. All Styrofoam drink cups, lids and straws have been removed from the Marketplace, The Grille and Cornell Science Center and replaced with biodegradable products. Biodegradable napkins are used throughout campus, and the Bookmark Café, Dianne’s Café, The Marketplace and Cornell Courtyard are now serving Starbucks Fair Trade Certified coffee products.

Dining Sevices' “Green Day” initiatives highlight new sustainable programs on campus and/or community projects and have included a “recycle mug program” and “Grounds 4 Growth.” As a part of “Grounds for Growth,” Dining Services recycles coffee grounds and packages them so they can be used as fertilizer, which is available for free to the Rollins community.

Dining Services sells reusable tote bags at all campus dining locations and has even turned its dishwashing system “green” by implementing Sustainable Ware-washing Solution, which could save an estimated 125,000 pounds of plastic production and waste.

Dining Services is also committed to fighting hunger. All leftover food is now donated to Second Harvest Food Bank, a local charity. The department works with several campus organizations to plan food and can drives. For more information, visit the Dining Services Web site at www.rollinsdining.com.

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