Letter From Dennis

Welcome to the Spring 2018 Semester


As one of the largest, self-operated Dining Services programs in the country, our services have to extend beyond just having tasty food for our customers. We have to be sensitive to the varied needs of students that entail special dietary requirements, students who are vegetarian/vegan, and students that dine Kosher or Hallal. As an organization that is the sole provider of food service on our campus, we also have the obligation and responsibility of being in a business of serving healthy, sustainable, delicious food.

In recent years UConn Dining has joined over forty other institutions in creating new strategies that have helped us to successfully navigate a rapidly changing culinary landscape. This partnership with other institutions is called The Menus of Change University Research Collaborative. This initiative started as a partnership with the Culinary Institute of America, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Stanford University. While we have begun to make modest changes here at UConn, we have already reduced salt in our recipes, sourced chicken that is absent of antibiotic use, increased the utilization of locally sourced fresh fish and reduced the use of red meat on our menus.

Our long term goal is to work towards a clean label movement combined with creating a plant based menu focus. We are very sensitive to how we source our ingredients and the impact that we have on the environment. Participating in The Menus of Change University Research Collaborative allows us to join other institutions in integrating optimal nutrition, environmental stewardship and restoration and social responsibility within the food service industry.

So what is a “plant-forward” focused menu? It is a style of food preparation and dining that emphasizes and celebrates, but is not limited to, plant based foods, including: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and other legumes, soy foods, nuts and seeds, plant oils and herbs and spices. These reflect evidence-based principles of health and sustainability.

Take a close look at this semester’s UCuisine cover. The graphic lists the principles that The Menus of Change subscribe to. This semester, dining units will be featuring theme meals and events that highlight one of these principles as part of an educational awareness program to inform students, but more importantly, have the students taste and enjoy great menu options.

Lastly, to keep in touch with Dining and the services we offer, please utilize this guidebook, our UCuisine. If one is not available, because we will be printing less copies as usual, you can find all of our information on our website: www.dining.uconn.edu.

Please let us know how we can meet your needs. Your dining experience has to be a memorable one or we have failed to meet your expectations. Enjoy the semester, practice sustainability and make a conscious effort to make the most out of life.

Eat well, enjoy life and pursue your dreams.

Dennis Pierce, Executive Director, UConn Dining