Virginia Tech Dining Services won a Gold Medal at the National Association of College & University Food Services (NACUFS) 2022 Loyal E. Horton Dining Awards and a Silver Medal at the NACUFS 2022 Sustainability Awards. The awards recognize innovative ideas and program implementation by members of the association.
Dining Services’ 30th Annual Chili Challenge won gold in the Residential Dining – Special Event category. The event, presented in the fall of 2020, has been recognized for its exemplary menus, presentation, marketing and planning.
Brian Grove, Senior Associate Director of Food Services, said, “I am extremely proud of the team that exceeded the call of duty to pull off the 30th Chili Challenge at the height of the pandemic.”
“In the fall of 2020, the whole college catering model was in turmoil and we are constantly reinventing our operations,” said Brandon Hendricks, associate director of catering. “But because our students needed tradition and normality, this team rose up and gave it to them.
The NACUFS Sustainability Award celebrates the central role of food services in a campus’ overall environmental sustainability and social responsibility goals. Dining Services’ Sustainable Eats Bike Tour won silver in the awareness and education category.
“The Sustainable Eats Bike Tour is a way to educate students about plant-based, local and otherwise sustainable options on our daily menus,” said Ben Marks, Associate Director of Catering. “This student engagement fuels our vision and energy for how we create more sustainable menu options and more student programs around sustainability.
Blake Bensman, Sustainability Manager for Food Services and Housing and Residence Life, said, “It is an honor for our team to accept this award. Creating impact-oriented experiential learning opportunities for our students is paramount. We understand that sustainable restoration doesn’t stop at graduation. This program shows how our department can effectively equip students with the knowledge to make healthy and sustainable food choices throughout their lives.
Each of the catering programs competed with college catering services of comparable enrollment and service volumes across the United States. Catering services will be recognized for each of the NACUFS 2022 National Conference events in Spokane, Washington in July.