Between classes, after work and maybe a late night run right before bed, CSB/SJU students are regularly stopping in at local dining centers around campus. From the grill at the Reef to Mongo at Gorecki, students can devour all kinds of different foods with just a swipe of their ID. But has anyone ever stopped and thought about what is being consumed?
According to Adria Gillitzer, the Registered Dietitian and Administrative Manager for SJU Dining Services, there is a thoughtful process that comes with purchasing food for students on campus.
“We have many considerations to make when purchasing food for SJU dining service. We make food purchases based on many different criteria including product shelf life, nutrition and wholesomeness, seasonality, sustainability, cost and taste — just to name a few,” Gillitzer said.
SJU receives shipments of produce about three times a week from different distributors which ensures freshness. It is also important to the dining halls to provide whole grain options for students, including breads and pastas. There are 18 different food providers to SJU alone, allowing a full spectrum of different health benefits from students across the board.
Kim Poganski, the head of CSB Culinary Services, commented on these remunerations.
“Some of the benefits include a vast selection of items that we can choose to purchase from a variety of national companies, updated nutrition values on all items, educational opportunities to learn about new items that fit our customer base (students), understanding that U.S. Foods (CSB’s primary food vendor) is committed to purchasing locally and an institutional cost savings due to the purchasing efforts from the combination of CSB, SJU and the Monastery,” Poganski said.
Along with a great selection from national food distributors, both SJU and CSB utilize local vendors like Gaia Gardens in St. Cloud or Plumb Crazy Orchards just north of Buffalo, Minn. SJU even hosts Local Food Days, featuring local fruits, vegetables, meats, grains and dairy for students during the academic year.
Not only are there nutritional benefits to our on-campus food selection, but costs of food factor into the equation. Food can be expensive, so the dining services consciously work to keep prices in check.
“Some advantages that we have as a large-scale dining hall are that we purchase high volumes of food and can negotiate with food companies for lower pricing. These savings are then passed on to the students as the meal plan prices correlate with labor and food costs associated with running the dining halls. We also try to buy products in season when we can to keep costs down,” Gillitzer said.
David Schoenberg, the Executive Director of SJU Dining Services, says the logic behind the functioning of the dining services is simple.
“The goal is to give students quality choices and to do it within a budget,” Shoenberg said.
According to Alex Jarosz, an SJU sophomore, it seems as if all the dining services’ work has paid off. Students seem to be pleased with the dining halls on campus.
“I’m a big guy who eats a lot of food so I fully appreciate all the food that is offered at both CSB and SJU,” Jarosz said.
Dining services at CSB and SJU appreciate all student feedback. If you wish to leave any comments or look at additional nutritional information and links, visit each campuses’ respective dining service website.