Virginia Tech Dining Services has completed another successful year when it comes to honors and awards for its renowned food and dining atmosphere. The university’s reputation for outstanding dining is built on innovation and service.
However, it’s not just the meals that bring about special recognition. Dining Services works with local charities, practices sustainability in all nine dining centers on campus, and hosts many special event and theme dinners every semester.
Serving the community
Now in its 15th consecutive year, the Flex Out Hunger program is just one of the charitable programs endorsed by Dining and Services at Virginia Tech.
Flex Out Hunger is a joint program between Dining Services and Virginia Tech’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity that provides students with the opportunity to donate some or all of their remaining dining plan balance at the end of each spring semester.
In 2014, students donated a recording setting amount of $18,037.98 to the Flex Out Hunger program; the proceeds were sent to the Montgomery County Emergency Assistance Program.
During the past few years, Dining Services has also collected donations for Toys for Tots during its annual holiday meal; raised money for cancer awareness through Kathy’s Crew, a service group within Dining Services; and contributed to Habitat for Humanity, the Montgomery County Christmas store, and hurricane disaster relief in Pulaski, Virginia.
Dining Services Garden at Kentland Farm is a sustainability initiative of Dining Services that produces fruits and vegetables specifically for Virginia Tech dining centers.
Beginning as a small herb plot in 2009, the Dining Services Garden at Kentland Farm is now producing on just over three acres under the leadership of two co-farm managers, the sustainability coordinator for Dining Services, and with the support for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Dining Services also provides reusable options to further Virginia Tech’s sustainability efforts. The initiative includes reusable water bottles and to-go containers. Information about how to purchase and where you can use these reusable options can be found on the Dining Services website.
Dining Services at Virginia Tech understands that a major part of being green, decreasing your footprint, and promoting sustainability is waste minimization, and has implemented the practices of composting, recycling, food diversion, and tray-less dining into all of the dining centers on campus.
Last year, more than 1 million pounds of compostable waste were diverted from regional landfills. Used fryer oil is recycled as biodiesel fuel. More about specific practices of waste minimization methods is available online.
Special events and educational programs
Dining Services also hosts many fun special events and theme dinners throughout the semester.
A few examples of these events include banana splits with resident advisors, the annual Chili Challenge, and a Winter Wonderland Holiday Meal.
Education is also a big part of Dining Services, and it hosts Universi-Tea, an introduction to tea origins and history; Coffee College, an overview of the world's most popular drink; the Chef Series on topics as varied as gingerbread houses to sushi; Table Talk Live events, with noted campus leaders; and a summer culinary camp for kids so that members of the Virginia Tech and surrounding communities can learn more about the food they eat.
Dining Services maintains a high food safety rating by multiple Health Department inspections.
Because Virginia Tech’s Dining Services understands that some students have special diet needs and food allergies, they have created an interactive nutrition filter devoted to providing ingredient, nutrition, allergen, and gluten information about the products served in each dining center.
Written by Brooke Williams of Christiansburg, Virginia, a junior double-majoring in English and communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.