Students and Families Diversify With Different Food Options
August 13, 2011
By Toby A Ten Eyck
LANSING, MI — Michigan State University (MSU) is facing a number of challenges in the coming years, from competing on the football field in the newly restructured Big Ten conference to the rising costs of providing higher education to over 45,000 students. There is also a challenge in MSU’s cafeterias, as MSU Culinary Services try to meet the growing demands of students from various cultures and backgrounds. One such effort, was launched during the 2011 spring semester is kosher meals. The kosher meal service program is at Wilson Dining Hall. Through the program, kosher meals will be served during the dinner meal period, starting at 4 p.m., Sunday through Thursday of each week.
“It’s an idea that’s been out there for twenty years,” says Guy Procopio, Director of Culinary Services, “and finally everything’s in place to make it happen.”
The kosher program is the outcome of a combined community and campus effort. Rabbi Jason Miller of Kosher Michigan, Cindy Hughey, director of the East Lansing Hillel Jewish Student Center, and Charles Radd, principle owner of Woody’s Oasis restaurant in East Lansing, are the off-campus individuals helping MSU develop the program. Miller and Radd worked together for nearly a year to make it possible to offer kosher food to MSU students, which included buying all new cooking equipment.
Kurt A. Kwiatkowski, Corporate Chef for MSU’s Culinary Services, expects to serve between 25 and 40 kosher meals a day during the Fall semester of 2011. “These meals need to be made just before they’re picked up,” Kwiatkowski said, “to make sure everything goes as expected.”
Both Procopio and Kwiatkowski said they have seen students pick up a kosher hamburger, walk over to the salad bar, and put a slice of cheese on the burger, which means the burger is no longer kosher. “It’s what the kids want,” says Procopio. “They’re testing the boundaries of their religion.”
Michigan State University also offers halal options. Halal involves the same restrictions against pork as kosher food, and includes restrictions against consuming alcohol, and one is not allowed to eat land animals without external ears, such as snakes, worms, and insects. Kosher and halal options are likely to be only the beginning of alternative food options at Michigan State University. “Students are starting to ask for local options,” noted Kwiatkowski, “so we’re gearing up to offer Michigan-only food days.”
Guy Procopio, director of MSU Culinary Services said that Michigan State University is committed to meeting our students’, faculty, staff and guests’ special dietary needs based on everything from religious practices to food allergies and lifestyle choices.
This was printed in the August 14, 2011 – August 27, 2011 Edition