Kent State’s Dining Services Unveils Updates to Better Serve Campus Community
Kent State University’s Dining Services has made various updates to its markets and cafés on campus in response to students’ needs. These updates range from clearer labeling of menus to helping students with food allergies to encouraging students to explore their culinary options.
There are different symbols diners can use to identify the contents of items on menus in the dining halls and the markets.
- “GF” stands for gluten-free items. Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale.
- “L” stands for locally sourced ingredients.
- “O” stands for meals that meet the U. S. Department of Agriculture definition of organic.
- “VG” stands for vegan options.
- “V” stands for vegetarian.
“These labels make it easier for students to quickly identify options they can eat,” said Megan Cascaldo, Kent State’s Dining Services dietician.
“AllerTrain U is a national program that certifies chefs and managers in handling food allergies, specifically on a campus setting,” Cascaldo said. “All of our executive chefs and managers went through the training to make sure they’re empowered to help students answer questions and find food options right there at the point of service.”
Simple Servings Station
The Simple Servings station, located in the Eastway Café, is free from seven of the eight Food and Drug Administration’s most-common allergens of peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, wheat, soy, milk products and eggs, as well as gluten. Every day for lunch and dinner, there are starch and vegetable sides and two entrees.
“We opened this station in January, so students with food allergies could easily assimilate in with other students,” Cascaldo said. “There’s a separate prep table, steamer and oven back of house, and everything’s labeled and sectioned off to aid in preventing cross-contamination.”
The Culinary Passport is new to Kent State’s Dining Services this year, and it encourages students to come to special, themed events held at Eastway Café, Kent Market 2 and Prentice Café.
“We’re trying to focus on – not only the experience for the students to have fun – but also to introduce the culinary expertise that we have here on campus,” said Rita Mugford, marketing coordinator at Kent State’s Dining Services.
Kent State students will receive a sticker for each Dining Services event they attend. If students attend seven of the 13 events this semester, they will receive a free T-shirt at the end of the semester. If they come to 11 of the 13 events, they receive a T-shirt and a reusable mug or water bottle.
Dining Services also is adding some new, themed events this semester, including a clam bake and “Barbecue Blues” complete with a barbecue rig and blues band for entertainment. Most events are Wednesday evenings from 4:30-8 p.m.