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Cornell helps neighboring Ithaca establish self-op dining

Cornell University has announced an agreement that will see the university help nearby Ithaca College transition to offering in-house dining operations to its students.

This past March, Ithaca College ended its contract with food service provider, Sodexo, citing the desire to simplify and improve meal plans, cut costs, and help address food insecurity on campus. Cornell, meanwhile, boasts solid rankings in Princeton Review’s top 10 for best campus food in the country, and has done so while operating its own dining in house.

Cornell University runs its own dining operations in house and was contacted by Ithaca College to help the fellow neighboring college move to a self-op format by the start of the upcoming fall semester.

Cornell Dining will lead the consulting and training partnership — which was agreed in late June — as part of a project that will provide Ithaca College’s 4,000 students with campus meal plans in time for the start of the fall semester in August.

The agreement between the two schools will see Ithaca College have access to many of the same systems, vendors, and 3,500 tested recipes that Cornell uses for its operations and retail outlets. Ithaca College also will be consulting with Cornell Dining staff while they set up databases, operating procedures, training materials, and best practices.

Ithaca College said in its own release that it has arranged to license materials that will provide “a foundation for the college to open its dining operations with thousands of established recipes, along with standard operating procedures designed to achieve high food quality, consistency and safety.” Training on food-management protocols will also be provided before the beginning of the fall semester, and will extend into the academic year as needed.

As part of the agreement, Cornell is charging Ithaca College an undisclosed, “modest fee” to cover resources, consulting time, and staff training in the areas of food quality, consistency, and safety procedures.

Cornell Dining operates 29 on-campus dining locations, including all you can eat dining halls, cafés, coffee houses, food courts, and c-stores. Cornell also serves more than 23,000 meals a day to its campus community.

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