A Greener, More Diverse Dining Experience at the U

By Kelly Montoya

A Greener, More Diverse Dining Experience at the U

By Kelly Montoya
New student meal plan swipe locations, kosher options and non-plastic disposables are now available as part of UM Dining’s new inclusivity and sustainability initiatives.

Dining experiences on campus are personal. And anticipated. They serve as a break from a busy class schedule, a time to refuel or a moment to simply catch-up with classmates. The University of Miami offers an array of dining options to fit those moods, and this year has added a few new twists.

In an effort to accommodate a diverse student body, UM Dining is taking an approach that is more inclusive and sustainable to campus dining. UM Dining has expanded meal plan locations, added kosher options to the existing meal plan and is working to further reduce the use of plastic in campus dining halls.

“We are constantly searching for ways to better our program and one of the best methods of doing that is listening to our students,” said Michael Ross, the resident district manager for UM Dining. “Once we determined the need, it was just a matter of making it happen. We are very pleased to announce this new addition to the meal plan and hope it has a significant, positive impact on the University community”

Students are now able to use their meal plans at The Corner Deli and Pura Vida, both kosher locations. The change introduces two new menus to a meal plan that ranges from student favorites such as hearty chicken tenders, falafel, and BBQ pulled beef to more health conscious, organic and allergen-friendly options.

The move is a milestone for the University, explained Rabbi Mendy Felig, who supervises The Corner Deli. “Kosher on campus is a growing trend in colleges across the country. By introducing a kosher meal swipe, once again the University of Miami shows it is on the forefront of providing for the needs of all its students.”

“Proper nutrition and a balanced diet are the first steps to a successful college experience and our new inclusion in meal plans makes this more easily accessible for kosher students,” Felig added.

For all students, having an upbeat and healthy environment available on campus is vital to their success and well-being, said Igor Khokhlov, executive director at UM Hillel who supervises the relationship with Pura Vida, which opened in April as UM’s newest dining location. “We’re thrilled to contribute to an elevated dining experience at UM by introducing and hosting Pura Vida at UM Hillel. Pura Vida serves as an oasis for students, where they can come relax in a comfortable atmosphere, eat high-quality kosher foods, and leave feeling great.”

As part of an on-going strategy to minimize plastic waste across the U, plastic straws have been phased out from both residential dining halls, Hecht-Stanford and Mahoney-Pearson. The new straws, available upon request, are entirely compostable and made with plant-based bioplastic technology crafted from renewable resources.

In addition to eliminating plastic bags and expanded polystyrene, most commonly known as Styrofoam, from all dining facilities last year, tree-free napkins and carry-out containers made out of products that use natural agricultural fibers are being introduced to the dining halls this fall.

“We partner with UM Dining on a multitude of initiatives each year to reduce our environmental impact and ‘green’ our dining program,” said UM’s sustainability manager Teddy Lhoutellier. “I am particularly excited about this initiative, as we are on the forefront of universities taking an eco-friendly approach to all aspects of dining.”