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Harvard University Dining Services recently changed its name, and even bigger changes are underway. Since coming back from winter break, we have been pleasantly surprised by the new food selections offered in the dining halls.
Like other students, we have thus far enjoyed the more diverse menu HUDS has offered this semester. We applaud HUDS for listening to student concerns about food quality, healthiness, and sustainability, as well as labor rights, and for taking those issues into consideration when choosing the winter menu.
New menu changes have introduced the taste of many different cultures to Harvard’s dining halls. For example, the world cuisines featured during dinner—including Peking chicken on Monday night and Korean barbecue on Wednesday night—bring an exciting change to weeknight dinner. Last week’s French bistro brunch was also an excellent addition to normal brunch fare. These “cuisine-themed” meals provide a great way for Harvard students to experience diverse food without having to eat off-campus.
HUDS has also attempted to increase the quality and diversity of food in the dining halls—for example, larger selections of fruit on Tuesday nights and better frozen yogurt in every dining hall. These changes are also commendable.
Some of the positive changes are the work of the Joint Best Practices Committee which Harvard formed as part of the food service workers’ union contract. This committee has already met and made positive changes in the dining halls: for example, the egg salad and tofu salad in the deli bar are now made on-campus by Harvard dining hall workers instead of being shipped to Harvard pre-made, and roast beef will also be roasted on campus. Chicken salad and tuna salad will soon be made by HUDS as well.
By increasing food quality while also increasing environmental sustainability and hopefully providing more hours for underemployed workers, the Joint Best Practices Committee has been a great model thus far for instituting change in the menu. We hope that the Committee will continue to make changes in every section of the dining hall.
While HUDS’s recent changes have been positive, students will certainly have additional feedback about the food this semester. While making future decisions about food, HUDS must been sustainable sourcing and preparation high on its agenda. For example, the small stations where food is prepared fresh in the dining hall allow HUDS to use local vegetables, often from the Harvard Community Garden, to prepare delicious and healthy food that students enjoy. We hope that the changes made this semester in the dining hall bode well for a future of increasingly delicious and high-quality food in Harvard’s dining halls.
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