UNC Wilmington Campus Dining Wins National Award for New Orleans Lunch Tied to Common Reading Selection
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Campus Dining at the University of North Carolina Wilmington has won a national award for a tie-in event last fall with the Synergy Common Reading Program, which helps build community by encouraging the entire campus, particularly the freshman class, to read one book together.
While UNCW freshmen were busy last fall reading and discussing Synergy selection Zeitoun, Campus Dining, operated by ARAMARK, was preparing a special event to bring the ambience, food and culture of New Orleans to Wagoner Dining Hall. Zeitoun, author Dave Eggers' nonfiction account of a prosperous Syrian-American who chose to stay in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, highlights issues of injustice and social responsibility.
The New Orleans (NOLA) Lunch, designed to enrich students' experience of the book, recently received Gold in the annual Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards from the National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS). Part of a series of activities promoting Zeitoun, the NOLA Lunch featured traditional bayou food, music and festivities.
"Feeding large numbers of students nutritious, high quality food on a daily basis is a big job," said Brian Dailey, director of Auxiliary Services, "but at UNCW we think Campus Dining can do even more than that. Dining is a large part of campus life, and offers many opportunities to partner with the academic community to reinforce what students are studying and learning. The NOLA Lunch was an excellent example of how well this approach can work."
At the October 20 event, food stations were modeled after neighborhoods of New Orleans, such as French Quarter, Arts District and Treme, with each station showcasing that area's unique cuisine and culture. Food choices reflected authentic regional dishes (often with a healthier twist) such as Louisiana-style Frogmore stew, vegan jambalaya, black-eyed peas and local sautéed greens. Street-style performers entertained diners, including a juggler, a face painter, a jazz duo, a magician and the UNCW dance troupe Physical Graffeeti.
"The lunch was a huge success," said Ashley Murphy, district marketing manager for ARAMARK. "Students and faculty had a great time, and the whole experience really deepened students' involvement with the Synergy book. We received many positive comments about the event, and it's exciting to be recognized by NACUFS as well."
To enter the NACUFS competition, universities must submit a portfolio about the event. Judging is based on atmosphere, excitement, success of the event and connection with the university. NACUFS is a resource for campus dining professionals that has supported college and university members with programs and resources for more than 50 years.
Interviews are available with UNCW Campus Dining staff by contacting the below media contact. High-resolution photos from the NOLA Lunch are also available upon request.
Dana Fischetti, media relations manager, 910.508.3127 or firstname.lastname@example.org