Eli Capilouto

Building Community through Dining

Published: Jul 2, 2014

During the summer, the University of Kentucky negotiated a 15-year, nearly $250 million contract with Aramark to create a public-private partnership for dining that will transform this vital service for our students, faculty, staff and the larger community we serve. The partnership is an opportunity to improve service, provide healthier food at lower cost to our students, invest millions in facilities and enhance our commitment to locally sourced food.


Our campus, community and Board of Trustees diligently prodded, poked and asked questions throughout our decision-making process. While the investments and financial returns are important in advancing the transformation of our campus, our decision is not simply one of bricks and mortar.


Our decision to partner with Aramark is about stirring human transformation through community. In doing so, we must ask ourselves, “What is our purpose – our responsibility to each other and the world? How do we support each other in a community?”


Mary Lynne and I are fans of NPR’s award winning program, On Being. The show explores a variety of perspectives, experiences and beliefs that center around human life.  The topics explore what it means to be human – and what it means to be part of a community.


Past guests include Rosanna Cash, who talked about her love of language, quantum mechanics and her search for new sources of creativity and meaning. Vincent Harding – civil rights veteran who recently passed away – shared his perspective on social change in a multi-racial, multi-religion democracy.


Recently, Reverend Nadia Bolz-Weber was a guest on the program. She leads the House of All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. Rev. Bolz-Weber disagrees with the notion that God will never give you more than you can handle. She says, “God will never give you more than your community can bear or you as a member of a community.”


Our effort in housing and dining is to build community for a new generation – millennials who grew up at a time when the kitchen never closed. The spaces that will come to life over the next few years are more than dining halls, they are spaces for people to gather, collaborate and create. We are opening new kitchens, so as individuals and community they can grow as a family with bonds that nurture their ties to each other and their responsibility to community and world.


We do so building upon the work of our current dining services, those employees and in a spirit of 150-year proud tradition as a land grant university. Our partnership with Aramark represents exciting progress to strengthen community on our campus. Key provisions include:

·         Price reductions for UK's six current student meal plans, with the most expensive plan falling in price by 26 percent or about $740 per semester.

·         $70 million in facilities investments, including $40 million in new facilities, will be made by 2017-2018, including the new K-Lair at Haggin Hall and substantial upgrades to the Student Center Food Court, which will be ready in fall 2014.

·         A new $32 million Commons for Fall 2015 will feature Kentucky Proud products, sustainable design elements and the nation’s first on-campus Panera Bread Co.

·         Several new food brands will locate on campus, including a new locally owned Common Grounds, Rising Roll Gourmet, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Greens to Go.

·         More emphasis on nutrition and wellness with a full-time dietician hired by Aramark, digital menu boards, a nutrition website and mobile apps for nutrition and fitness.

·         Aramark provides guarantees to increase Kentucky Proud and local food purchasing, including an 11 percent increase in the first year of the contract with $2 million in guaranteed purchases. Over the life of the contract, local food and Kentucky Proud purchases are projected to grow each year and represent approximately 25 percent of total food purchases by the end of the term.

·         Significant sustainability initiatives include LEED certification being sought on new construction, hiring of a full-time sustainability coordinator and implementation of Green Thread business practices, including waste stream management practices, minimizing food waste and supporting composting, energy audits and other energy and conservation initiatives.

·         The creation of a "Food Hub" in partnership with the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, including a $5 million guaranteed investment in an unprecedented academic partnership.

·         Current UK employees with dining — about 110 people — will have the opportunity to remain university employees with the same salary and benefits — a guarantee made by the university more than a year ago.

·         Aramark is committed to growing the number of full-time and student employees.


Over the last two years, we gathered in a shared dialogue with campus and community stakeholders whose feedback was critical to negotiating this impactful partnership. I want to thank everyone involved with this process –especially the students, faculty, staff and community members who made this possible. Together, we are building new communities for the UK family. 

Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Dallas Buyers Club
College of Law Welcomes Trevor Potter
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Notes on Marie Menken
LNFS Presents: Edge of Tomorrow
UK Jazz Ensemble/ UK Lab Band
Earth & Environmental Science Student Open House
"Nerd Night" Exhibit and Concert
"Anne Braden: Southern Patriot" Film Screening and Discussion
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: My Neighbor Totoro
LNFS Presents: (500) Days of Summer
Men's Soccer vs. Old Dominion
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Alabama
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. South Carolina
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
Swing Dancing!
Dancing at Lughnasa
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
UK Children's Hospital/Birthing Center Annual Perinatal Loss "Walk To Remember"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Texas A&M
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Resumes and Cover Letters
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Networking and Job Search
UK Choristers
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Stillness in Motion: The Essence of Symmetry - presented by Dr. Carl Lee, Mathematics
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Night of the Living Dead
UK Law Day
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Mark Berry, Guest Percussion Recital
National Depression Screening Day
LNFS Presents: Torch Song Trilogy
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Shut Up and Play the Hits
LNFS Presents: Watchmen
KLJ Data Privacy Symposium
Family Weekend Check-in
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #1
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. South Carolina
Family Weekend: Derek Hughes
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. ULM
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK International Tent/ Tailgate Party
CT Surgery Symposium: Advances in the Surgical Management of Cardiothoracic Diseases:
Family Weekend Tent Party
Dancing at Lughnasa
DNT 101: A Taste of the Kentucky Doughnut Trail
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #2
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Auburn
Sunday Lunch at Historic Spindletop Hall
Men's Soccer vs. Marshall
Job Club - Social Media and Your Career
Massage on the Go
LNFS Presents: The Last Samurai
UK Symphony Band Concert
Women's Forum Conference 2014
#TrendingTopics: Pornography vs. Morality
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: The Tree of Life
LNFS Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy
UK Wind Symphony
LNFS Presents: Princess Mononoke
LNFS Presents: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ole Miss
Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
Paint the Town Blue
Free Kaplan Entrance Practice Exams
4th Annual Big Blue Soccer Tournament
Men's Soccer vs. New Mexico
Swing Dancing and Costumes?
Paint the Town Blue
UK Men's Chorus and acoUstiKats
Jazz Spectacular
UK Student Pajama Party
Kentucky Volleyball vs. LSU
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Florida
Paint the Town Blue
Midterm of 2014 Fall Semester
Returning to Work and Breastfeeding
Open Access Week Kickoff Event (Webcast)
Grad School 101
Royalty Showcase
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Preparing for Law School
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Grad School Panel: Surviving Your 1st Year
Film & Panel Discussion: Be Like Others
Graduate and Professional School Showcase
Your Publication, Your Choice: Choosing the Right Open Access Journal
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Kitty Karnival
Study Tips for Medical School
LNFS Presents: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Thank-A-Donor Day
Campus Sustainability Day
Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Information Session
Getting Into Medical School
Writing a Winning Personal Statement
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Marimbas From Hell
LNFS Presents: The Fault in Our Stars
Generation Open: Researchers' Roles in the Age of Openness
Homecoming Street Fair
LNFS Presents: Kiki's Delivery Service
LNFS Presents: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
"see blue." Day at Keeneland
Peanut Butter Drive
Pumpkin Carving Tournament
Kentucky Football vs. Mississippi State
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK Women's Choir and Paws and Listen
Bill Cooper Faculty Recital
UK Trumpet Ensemble
Undergraduate Research Information Session "How to Find A Mentor"
Job Club - How To Get A Job at UK: Updates on IES Applicant Tracking System
Common Reading Experience Author Lecture: Presenting Ishmael Beah
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: The Shining
Pinterest Party
Leadership Assessment
"see boo." Halloween Party
Society for the Promotion of Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Meeting
#UKEDTALKS: Design Thinking with Dr. John Nash
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Tennessee
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Lucy
Film Viewing and Discussion of The Other Boleyn Girl
LNFS Presents: Papirosen
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Alabama
LNFS Presents: ParaNorman
LNFS Presents: Carrie
All Hallow's Eve Concert (UK Symphony Orchestra)
Work-Life Retirement Conference
Oct 22
Study Tips for Medical School 10/22/2014

Wed, 10/22/2014

Thu, 10/23/2014

Reset Page