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Campus Dining Service Update – August 28, 2020

Posted by on Friday, August 28, 2020 in Uncategorized.

To our Vanderbilt students,

Happy Friday!  With the first full week of classes nearly complete, we hope your semester is off to a positive and productive start.  Just as you have been ramping up your studies, the Campus Dining team has been hard at work, tweaking our operations, adapting to new challenges, and working to make your life on campus as smooth as possible.  Of course, there have been bumps in the road.  Many of you have let us know you’re feeling – either in person, through email, or on social media.  Some has been positive, some negative, but nevertheless we welcome a healthy, respectful dialogue – as we’ll only get through this semester together.

Since we embarked on our reopening plan, our primary concern has been the safety of you, our guests.  Although dining halls are, temporarily, no longer incubators of community-building, we still take very seriously our job of nourishing the academic spirit here at Vanderbilt, and doing that in a thoughtful, nutritious manner.

Recently, we made the difficult decision to simplify our menu options, and to shift to preboxed meal service.  While this was never our first choice, delays in the serving area were simply too long, lines and wait times were unacceptable, and some students chose other options in frustration.  With this preboxed style of service, choices appeared limited, customization was difficult, and Vanderbilt Campus Dining was unable to provide the quality experience you expected.  But the reality of operating in the midst of a public health crisis means that, just like many other aspects of campus life, we all need to be flexible, and most importantly, supportive of the university’s guidance on safety protocols.  Considerable effort to launch the fall 2020 semester has been made by all members of the Vanderbilt community  – including our students, parents, faculty, and staff, and it is up to all of us to make this semester a success.

This week, we went back to the drawing board, and our August 24 message outlined a number of those changes.  We’ve also further refined our menu, and expanded our kitchen staff to include additional temporary labor.  With those changes, and many more behind the scenes, we’re proud to announce that starting with today’s breakfast service, we will return to serving individual portions for all hot entrees.  You choose what’s in your to-go container, and can select the entrees/sides that meet your personal tastes.  Desserts, salads, and other cold items will continue to be pre-portioned.

To make this work, we need your help and cooperation.  Please take advantage of NetNutrition at vu.edu/menus to plan your meal before you arrive.  When in the serving area, please be prompt, and be mindful of your fellow students in line.  And please keep in mind that we offer a wide array of alternative, express options for meals; these include Grab and Go (featuring Pizza at Commons, EBI, and Kissam), Munchie Mart Meals, Suzie’s, Aryeh’s, and PickupSpots, with expanded hours and new dinner options starting next week.

This is truly an unprecedented semester, and we appreciate the support, kindness, and collegiality we have come to expect from the Vanderbilt family.  Together, let’s Step Up and Anchor Down.

Stay well.