By: Erica Lampert ~Staff Writer~
their days at home, the Hoff Dining Hall was busy at work accommodating to students’ requests and suggestions for its improvement over winter break.
Throughout the fall semester, Xavier Dining allowed students to input ideas and feedback through their website and comment cards to help create a better dining hall.
“We love getting (student) feedback. It’d be my joy to get as much involvement on the website as with the comment cards,” Marketing Director Jennifer Paiotti said.
Following student suggestions throughout the fall semester, Xavier Dining has implemented menu changes that it hopes will enhance students’ experiences.
Students who are vegetarian or vegan can now visit the new Naturals section that has been created to provide healthier eating. All of the pizzas in Hoff will be created with vegan recipes, vegan sugars and soy cheese upon request. Vegan bread, soups and soy cheese will also be available at the deli as healthy alternatives.
Xavier Dining has also taken more advanced steps to become 100 percent sustainable by purchasing two new compact machines called Ecovim. This new system will break down food waste and dry it into blocks to create an odorless end product that Xavier’s Sustainability Club can use as a soil amendment.
Students must ensure that their dishes no longer have any plastic on them and are encouraged to recycle and use reusable cups to help along the new sustainability project. In addition, Hoff will no longer have any cold-beverage, plastic to-go cups for students to take in order to achieve the status of being 95 percent waste free.
“Last year we reduced the amount of waste from Hoff to 75 percent just by placing to-go cups at the cashier desk — with no more cups we hope to reach 95 percent,” Paiotti said.
Students who use reusable cups can take pictures and post them on Facebook or Twitter at @XavierDining starting Jan. 19. At the end of each week a winner will be announced and can receive prizes, such as $25 gift cards to Starbucks, Subway or Target or a grand prize worth over $200 in Xavier merchandise.
Students are also invited to join the “taste it, don’t waste it” movement, which suggests that diners take samples and smaller portions of dishes.
“30 percent of what students take to eat is wasted. This is why we can’t purchase food items, such as shrimp for the students, because we have to put more money into compacting that extra waste,” Paiotti said.
In addition to the movements, each month Xavier Dining will feature a food that is healthy as a super food.
“Every single month we plan to feature a food that is good for you. This month the super food is whole grains and the next month will be yogurt,” Paiotti said.
Different cultural clubs at Xavier will also be entering the kitchen to introduce various cultures’ food into the Xavier community. Students will work with chefs to create family recipes and speak to other students about the importance of their food in their communities.
In January, the Asian Pacific Heritage Club will prepare dishes to celebrate the Chinese New Year, which is on Feb. 19.
“This is a great way to introduce people to different cultures by introducing them to new types of food,” Paiotti said.
For next year, Xavier Dining is considering ridding the Hoff of all plastic, allowing the bakery to deliver outside of the hall and surveying Xavier students about items they want to see on following week’s menu.
“We would really like to have a student poll called student choice, which allows students to choose themes, food items and new stations to incorporate into the dining hall,” Paiotti said.
Students are encouraged to email and leave comment cards for Xavier Dining with any new ideas during the spring semester.
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