LEXINGTON, Ky. -Two public forums have been scheduled by the University of Kentucky for a community discussion of the revitalization of its dining services.
The first forum will be held 5-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, in the Worsham Theater of the Student Center. The second will be 3:30-5 p.m. April 18 at the UK Athletics Auditorium in the William T. Young Library.
“Our goal is to create the best possible dining services operation for the University of Kentucky,” said Eric N. Monday, UK’s executive vice president for finance and administration. “An important element in reaching that goal is listening to – and encouraging dialogue with – the university and the broader communities we serve. These forums are designed to continue the dialogue already taking place, while also allowing everyone involved to ask questions about the process and our commitment to creating an even stronger dining services operation for our students, faculty, staff and visitors.”
The Dining Revitalization Committee created to review options to transform dining on campus recently recommended the university move forward with requests for proposals (RFPs) from potential business partners. The committee includes representatives from UK faculty, staff and the student body.
In an email to dining services employees last week, Monday wrote, "Fully exploring how a partnership with a third party would make such an operation a reality is the responsible course to take."
Responding to concerns and questions previously raised by students, university and local community groups interested in sustainability and other issues, the committee recommended that certain commitments be included in the RFP, including:
* Ensuring that current full-time UK dining employees will have employment opportunities with either the university or the selected business partner, if the university administration and the Board of Trustees ultimately take that path. The university will also require that student workers continue to be employed.
* Continuing a strong sustainability program by purchasing local food produce and the strong partnership UK has with the Kentucky Proud Program.
* Expanding options, healthier food choices and responsiveness to the many constituencies that comprise the university community.
Between now and 2015 three dining facilities across campus will be de-commissioned as part of the revitalization of the university's residence hall system. UK hopes to build up to 9,000 residence hall beds over the next five to seven years as part of a dramatic transformation of its campus core. Improvements and expansion of the Student Center are also necessary as enrollment increases.
If the university administration recommends any change in current operations, it would be taken to the UK Board of Trustees for its approval.