News Date: 
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Source: The Red & Black

Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 9:25 pm, Wed Oct 3, 2012.

by ERICA TECHO

The University is not only top ranked for its football team — it was also ranked No. 16 on The Daily Meal’s “52 Best Colleges for Food in America” list.

Vanderbilt University was the only other SEC school on the list made by the culinary website, and its ranking was No. 35. Kennesaw State University was the only other Georgia school listed, coming in at No. 10 for its fresh food which is prepared in small batches. Virginia Tech was No. 1.

Nina Fomufod, the writer of the top food list, said there were many factors which went into deciding which schools would make the list as well as where they would rank.

To narrow down college dining services to a list of 52, Fomufod said a variety of previous reviews and articles were taken into account. The Daily Meal also took note of awards for food, sustainability and service which the schools had been granted.

University Food Services was noted in the article for its many events, optional meal plan and 24-hour service in Snelling Dining Commons.

“I was actually really impressed that 96 percent of students [who live on campus] choose to take this food plan,” Fomufod said. “First, the fact that you don’t have to enroll in the food plan, and the fact that people choose to do it, and also you can eat 24 hours a day most days of the week? We were dying over here.”

Jeanne Fry, executive director of University Food Services, said the most recent count of students signed up for the meal plan was 7,982 students, 1,600 of which live off campus. She expressed excitement over making the list and was not worried by not having a higher ranking.

“Of course I’m excited anytime we’re ranked pretty high on a national list,” Fry said. “It just validates that we’re doing a good job and that people recognize that ... I think there are so many factors that go in [for a ranking]. One thing I will always note is the majority of schools that will ever list above us on a list are private schools. I think we do very well for a public institution.”

Fry said the price of the University’s meal plan is another factor.

“It would be interesting to compare what they charge, apples to apples, with what we do,” Fry said. “For unlimited access, five-day or seven-day plan, I would venture to guess we are really a bargain.”

Fomufod said the University didn’t rank higher on the list simply because other schools offered more amenities.

“It’s not specifically that there was anything bad [about the University], but it’s more the higher up [schools on the list] you go, the more amenities there are,” Fomufod said. “It’s just things like that which put other schools above.”

She gave the examples of some schools flying in chefs from India or Pakistan or having a meat shop on campus. Boston University was noted for its “X-Factor” of sending study abroad students cookies from the dining hall.

Fry said with a top-ranking football team and great academics, it’s important to make sure University Food Services keeps standards high.

“Good is never good enough ... We’re not resting on our laurels,” Fry said. “We continue to look for new food items.”

Fomufod made sure these standards did not go unrecognized.

“We were really trying to look at well-rounded programs, and we really felt that University of Georgia belonged on the list,” Fomufod said.