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Friday, Oct 19, 2018 at 7:15 pm

Food Choices Affect College Decisions

By Landon Wexler – Syracuse, N.Y. (CitrusTV) – When college application season rolls around, factors that often come to mind are the university rankings, the campus and student diversity.  However, a recent USA Today article explains how increasingly more people are starting their search with dining options.

To continue attracting students, Syracuse University is taking action.

“We’re constantly changing our menu based on students’ needs, students’ wants so we look at seasonality, we look what’s in season, what’s going to work,” Assistant Director of Nutrition Management for Syracuse University Food Services Ruth Sullivan says.  “We work together with our menu committee that has managers, a marketing committee, staff looking at what’s working and what’s not.”

Syracuse university is part of the National Association of College and University Food Services, called NACUFS.  NACUFS puts together a student survey each year asking about their dining experience.  Sullivan says the student’s surveys truly impact the way food services operates.

“If we’re getting a lot of surveys stating they don’t see enough healthy options, we know that healthy options are there but maybe we’re not marketing well enough,” she said. “So, we make a lot of changes and it’s not just in the menu.”

Syracuse university has a budget for the dining hall food. Sullivan says the budget makes a difference, but students’ needs still come first.  

“We have a business model we have to follow,” she said. “However, with the menu committee, the students are number one.  So even though we have to think about it, it’s not the first thing we think about.  The first thing we think about is the wants and needs of students.  Whether it’s a special diet, someone who eats vegan or somebody who does not.”

Syracuse University Food Services is doing all it can to be ready for any needs.  It already offers a kosher kitchen in Shaw Dining Hall and Halal-friendly food in all dining halls.

“There are options for pretty much anybody who comes to Syracuse University,” Sullivan said.

She and her Food Services team continue to find more enjoyable options to lure in new students to the orange family.