UNT Dining Services has been serving the University of North Texas community for decades. For most of our existence, we operated the dining halls and catering department while management of the retail restaurants was delegated to a contractor. However, a significant shift occurred in 2008. It was then that the University acquired the retail dining operations and began running practically every food outlet on campus. With the motto, “It’s About The Food” as a guide, steps were put in place over the next several years to significantly improve Dining Services. For example, recipes were developed to ensure that nearly all the food in the cafeterias is made from scratch; a Student Advisory Committee and a Secret Shopper program were created to constantly gather feedback from patrons; Mean Greens—the nation’s first 100% vegan cafeteria—was opened; dining halls were updated in both equipment and interior design to give guests a better dining experience; and new retail restaurants were created to better serve the campus. In addition, a comprehensive focus on reducing waste and improving sustainability was initiated. Ben E. Keith was chosen as our prime vendor to increase efficiency and drastically reduce the number of trucks making deliveries to campus. Cooking from scratch reduced waste from packaging, and a campaign to raise awareness of food waste in the cafeterias—coupled with going trayless in cafeterias—resulted in a marked decrease in the amount of food being thrown away. We also partnered with a local biodiesel company that collects grease from our kitchens and converts it to fuel. On top of all that, transforming one dining hall into the all-vegan cafeteria and serving vegan options at every location significantly reduced the amount of waste generated from raising and processing animal-based foods. Yet, despite these wide scale improvements, our meal plan prices remain very affordable. In fact, we offer the lowest priced meal plans of any major university in the U.S. while providing more cafeterias than many larger schools. We don’t mean to brag, but just in case you think it isn’t possible to serve great food, in a sustainable way, at affordable prices, here is a list of our recent awards: 2010 - Most Sustainable UNT Department 2011 - NACUFS Loyal E. Horton Award: Retail Dining Concept (1st Place) - Goldie Awards from Food Service Director Magazine: - Food Democracy - Financial Wizardry 2012 - Most Sustainable UNT Department - NACUFS Loyal E. Horton Awards: - Catering Special Event (3rd Place) - Residential Dining Concept (Honorable Mention) - Goldie Award from Food Service Director Magazine: Food Democracy In contrast to food service contractors, UNT Dining is a truly local enterprise. Our entire staff lives in the area, we make sure our food sources are as local as possible, and our resources go right back into benefitting the UNT community. We don’t just serve UNT, we are UNT, and that affinity affects everything we do.