Best Kept UDS Secrets

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Best Kept Secrets of UDS: "The Wanda's"

Posted on April 10, 2015

With over 30 different dining options, there are places and people in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week is two of our most valuable employees, Wanda Jackson and Wanda Williams – lovingly dubbed, “The Wanda’s.”  Read on to learn more about their roles and contributions to UDS.

Wanda Jackson is a UDS cook for Red Earth Kitchen in the Student Union Food Court.  She has worked at OSU for 42 years!  She grew up here in Stillwater, and has 2 grown sons.  During her free time, she enjoys Zumba, visiting her friends and family, watching TV, and tending to her 52 house plants!

Her favorite thing about working in the Student Union dining operations are the people she works with.  Wanda is especially fond of her manager Jerry and assistant manager Annette.  She also enjoys working with the students on staff.  Her biggest accomplishment while working for UDS was learning all the new recipes for Red Earth Kitchen after it opened.  Wanda’s favorite place to eat in the Union is Johnny Rockets.

Wanda Williams is the Student Union Kitchen Supervisor for UDS.  She has been with Oklahoma State University for over 20 years.  Her background includes living in both Oklahoma and Texas, as well as schooling for nursing and business.  During her free time, Wanda likes to babysit or go to the casinos.

She really likes the people she works with, and credits that to her longevity at her job.  She enjoys getting to know and interacting with all different kinds of people.  She gets along very well with the students and looks forward to working with them each day.  During her time with UDS Wanda has completed the OSU Leadership Program and is very proud of her accomplishment.  She likes all of the Food Court dining spots, so she cannot pick just one as her favorite.

These two ladies are never far apart when they are on duty in the Student Union.  In the mornings, you can find the Wanda’s working side by side in the Student Union kitchen preparing food for the day; chopping, mixing, preparing the day’s Grab n Go fares – you name it and they’re doing it!  All while chatting up a storm.  During the late lunch hour, you can often find Wanda and Wanda taking their break together and eating lunch on the bar just outside the first floor kitchen.  And of course, the conversation is always freely flowing.

These two fabulous ladies are staples of the UDS kitchen in the Student Union.  We are lucky to have them!  If you are ever in the Student Union and see them, be sure to stop and say hi and get to know them a little bit.  You’ll be happy you did!


Best Kept Secrets of UDS: Value Dining Campaign

Posted on April 3, 2015

With over 30 different dining options, there are places and people in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week is the Value Dining Program that has been re-energized this Spring.  Read on to learn about the different features of this program and where you can get the best deals with UDS. 

Oklahoma State is ranked among the top 100 values in public colleges and universities. University Dining Services offers the most affordable meal plans in the Big 12. Value is something that is in the spirit of Oklahoma State – everyone needs to be able to have what they need to be successful, on any budget.

One word that sums up University Dining pretty well is “choices”. It’s important to not only have gourmet selections, but also offer a good number of value items for when you just need a quick snack or you’re saving up for a big summer vacation.  We have value items, value combos, our “everyday values”, and we’re working on rolling out a comparison program that will highlight how many of the items you buy here on campus are actually more expensive when you purchase them from a traditional off campus outlet.

Our everyday value menu items provide a well-rounded meal at an affordable price.  Examples include the soup and salad lunch buffet at Service Station Grill, pizza and salad lunch buffet at Linguetti’s, and the daily menu for breakfast and lunch at Red Earth Kitchen.

Several dining operations offer combo meals for increased value when you buy bundles items.  Locations with these offerings are Red Earth Kitchen, Slam Dunk, Service Station Grill, Squawkers, Souperb!, Break and Beyond Deli, and Country BBQ.

Competitive Pricing is at the forefront of our Value Dining efforts.  Soon, tags all across campus on shelves and displays highlight the competitive pricing of retail goods in UDS outlets as compared with major national markets and retailers.

Freebie Friday (#FreebieFriday) is the social media component of the Value Dining Program.  Offers such as free coffee, snacks and beverages are featured each week.  At least one UDS location per Friday will participate in a “Freebie Friday” giveaway.  Follow University Dining Services on Social Media to find out what the FREEBIE is each Friday!  (Facebook – OSUDining; Twitter - @OSUDining; Instagram - @osudining)

A lot of people hear “America’s Healthiest Campus”® and just think nutrition and exercise, but at Oklahoma State we see it as all-around wellness, which includes being fiscally fit! So the Value Campaign is a huge asset on that front as well.  You don’t sacrifice quality or taste with any of our value items – it’s actually hard to believe all the deals we have!


Best Kept Secrets of UDS: CoTee Ellis

Posted on March 27, 2015

With over 30 different dining options, there are places and people in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week is one of our most valuable employees, Co Tee Ellis.  Read on to learn more about her role and contributions to UDS.

CoTee is a Prep Cook for UDS in our Kerr-Drummond location.  She has been with Dining Services for 29 years, and is soon retiring.  We are so lucky to have her on our staff and will truly miss her contributions to the department.

Before coming to the K-D dining operations, CoTee worked for many years at Central Dining Services of Oklahoma State University as a baker and cake decorator.  She is an amazing cake decorator and her skills are matched by her enthusiasm for her work.

So Tee is originally from the island nation of Taiwan.  She and her husband have been married for 16 years.  She has one son and one daughter.  She is the proud grandmother to 1 granddaughter and also has 3 cats she adores.  In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, cooking and baking.

During her time with UDS, she has helped pioneer the Grab and Go menu items including helping with recipe creation and distribution ideas.  She has created other new menu items as well.  She also has helped to make the inventory process at our Kerr-Drummond locations more streamlined.  All of her contributions have been greatly appreciated!

CoTee has truly enjoyed her time with OSU and with the UDS department.  She has made many lasting friendships over the years, and loves talking with the students about Chinese culture.  Her favorite place to eat on campus is Country BBQ at Scott-Parker-Wentz.  She is going to miss all of those things very much when she retires, but she also looks forward to sleeping late and traveling to see her children!

CoTee is leaving us very soon to enjoy her retirement!  So, next time you are in Kerr-Drummond at our dining locations, seek her out and thank her for her many years of tireless service!  Thank you CoTee!  You will be missed!


Best Kept Secrets of UDS: US Foods Dining Services Scholarship

Posted on March 13, 2015

With over 30 different dining options, there are places and people in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week is the 2 scholarships up for grabs for UDS student employees.  Read on to learn more about the US Foods Dining Services Scholarships.

Two $1250 scholarships are available to full-time students who are employees of UDS.  US Foods and University Dining Services are proud to offer this opportunity to full time students with a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester who have worked for UDS one full academic year prior to the application.  The deadline for the application to be returned is March 25, 2015.

The applicants must have demonstrated outstanding academic ability with a minimum GPA of 2.75 and must be verified with a copy of his or her transcript at the time of application submission.  Applications must also include a letter of recommendation by the dining manager, as well as another letter from another source – student, student supervisor, etc.  For full consideration, the student applicant needs to maintain fulltime student status during the award period, with a minimum GPA of 2.75 and be employed as a dining services employee. 

Scholarship recipients will spend one day at the US Foods Corporate office in Oklahoma City and will need at attend the annual student employee recognition ceremony on April 14, 2015.

The applications are available from your unit manager or in the Dining Services office located in 076 Student Union.  A completed application, which includes a transcript and 2 letters of recommendation, should be returned to the UDS office by March 25, 2015.  For more information, call 744-2911.

Best Kept Secrets of UDS: Shirley Amen

Posted on March 6, 2015

With over 30 different dining options, there are places and people in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week is one of our most valuable employees, Shirley Amen.  Read on to learn more about her role and contributions to UDS.

Shirley is a Pizza prep Cook for UDS.  She is based at the dining hall at Adams Market, and has been with Oklahoma State University and dining since she was 12 years old!  She started in catering with her sisters “a very long time ago.”  She graduated from OSU with a business degree.  Shirley is the oldest of 8 living children – 7 went to Oklahoma State, and 6 graduated from OSU (one didn’t graduate, and one went to college in Edmond).

Shirley’s favorite part about being with University Dining Services is that she gets to talk to EVERYONE!  She loves to meet new people, and has risen chatting to an art form.  Plus, she says being with all the young people makes her feel young!

Shirley started as a “Salad Lady” in Bennett years ago.  Joy Majors was her mentor and the one that got her stared with the department.  Shirley still counts Joy as her mentor, and credits her with keeping her going in UDS.  She also speaks highly of Tony Black and his efforts to keep her working with Dining.

Shirley’s hobbies are cooking, and her grandkids.  She keeps in the job in Stillwater so that she can be close to her daughter and her grandkids.  Every Friday night, she cooks dinner for her whole family!  This truly energizes her and makes her life complete.  Shirley says “you never know what life will bring you – just keep going!”  She also insists that age is just a number!

Next time you are in Adams market, ask for Shirley!  She would love to meet you, hear your story, and share a nice chat.

Best Kept Secrets of UDS: Ivy Acres Cage-Free Eggs

Posted on February 27, 2015

With over 30 different dining options, there are people, places and things in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week is the farm where we get our Cage Free eggs for Made in Oklahoma promotions.  Read on to learn more about Ivy Acres and their contributions to UDS.
Ivy Acres Farms, LLC is owned by Brad and Teresa Burnett and is located in Shawnee Oklahoma.  What is now an operation of over 4,000 laying hens, started as a 4-H project while the family was living in Virginia in 2000.  They started with a small flock of chickens and a few Nigerian Dwarf goats..  In 2001, they moved to Shawnee and during a family meeting, they decided selling eggs would be a good family business. 
Since those days, they cooperated with three other local families to keep up with the rapidly growing demand for farm fresh eggs.
The hens raised on the farm are all free-ranged.  And the eggs are hand collected, washed, inspected and packed right there on the farm.  The hens have the benefits of an enclosed shelter for protection from predators and weather, and they also have access to the great outdoors where they can enjoy all that nature provides.  They bask in the sunshine, and get their protein intake from bugs and plenty of green grass in the summer months.
So, how did the farm get the name “Ivy Acres?”  Well, in the early days in Virginia, there was a lot of work to be done in building goat pens and chicken coops.  During this time, the family was plagued with poison ivy rashes.  When it came time to resister the name, Ivy Acres seemed obvious!
Next week, Red Earth Kitchen in the Student Union Food court will be featuring Made in Oklahoma Cage-Free eggs from Ivy Acres Farms in many of their dishes.  On Monday, during the breakfast hours of 7:30am-10:30am you can get breakfast pizza made with Ivy Acres Cage-Free Eggs.  On Tuesday during breakfast, Red Earth is featuring a Croissant Breakfast sandwich with Ivy Acres Cage-Free Eggs.  Wednesday’s breakfast menu featured a Sausage and Egg sandwich in Ciabatta bread made with Ivy Acres Cage Free eggs.  Thursday, the lunch menu includes Hearty Oklahoma Quiche made with Ivy Acres Cage-Free Eggs from 11:00 am – 2:00pm.  And on Friday, during breakfast, one of your options is a breakfast burrito made with Ivy Acres Cage-Free eggs.  Be sure and stop by Red Earth Kitchen next week and try it out!

Best Kept Secrets of UDS: Halal Food Offerings

Posted on February 20, 2015

With over 30 different dining options, there are places and people in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week is a new food item focus that started this semester.  Read on to learn more about the Halal diet and the options UDS offers.

Recently, the demand for Halal food offerings from UDS has increased.  The changing campus demographics presented more Saudi Arabian students and students of Islamic Faith.  Also, students had approached the Director, Terry Baker, and requested this option, and members of the UDS team had already begun researching the options available to push out the students.  Wayne Prater, UDS Procurement and Purchasing Manager, took an online course to learn more about the Halal diet and to get certified in how to classify a food item for the offering.

Wayne said, “It was nice meeting with the students and learning about their needs.  I took an online class offered through NACUFS in cooperation with Food Service Express titled ‘Faith and Food : Introducing Islam and the Halal Diet’ and that was my starting point.”  He also said getting these items out to the students presented him with opportunities he didn’t anticipate, including one supply company that went out of business a week before UDS was to make a big initial order.  The learning process has been a good experience for him and he has gained valuable skills from it.

UDS has found several suppliers that can meet our demand for these products.  Currently we order from MidAmar Foods in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; United Natural Foods from across the United States; and Farner Boken in Des Moines Iowa.  UDS has several items around campus and are adding more as they become available.  Currently, Halal Pizza is available at Mambo Italiano in the Student Union and Linguetti’s in Kerr Drummond.  Halal Turkey for sandwiches is offered at Bred & Beyond Deli in the Student Union.  Also, pre-packaged Halal options are presented in the Grab & Go coolers at Union Express, Twenty Something, The Market Store and Express It.

UDS is proud to have these options available and are always looking for ways to expand the program.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please send an email to


Best Kept Secrets of UDS: Steve "PJ" Papendick

Posted on February 13, 2015

With over 30 different dining options, there are places and people in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week is one of our best managers, Steve “PJ” Papendick.  Read on to learn more about him and his contributions to UDS.

PJ is the Manager over all Adams Market dining locations.  He has been with Oklahoma State University for a total of over 25 years!  He came to OSU as a student in 1969 and graduated from the OSU School of Business.  During his free time, PJ enjoys spending time with his friends, including watching TV and of course, cooking.  He tries to come off as a tough guy, but we all know he is just a big teddy bear!

Since PJ has been in Stillwater and at OSU since the late 1960’s, he has seen a lot of changes and tremendous growth, especially in the food industry here.  He has been a season ticket holder for Cowboy Football since he came to school here, so he has watch the sports program here evolve as well!  You can find him out tailgating before every home football game – a tradition he truly embraces. 

During his career, he has had many experiences in the food industry.  While in college he worked as an assistant manager at Pizza Hut, then later managed a Chuck E Cheese restaurant.  PJ even donned the mouse costume on occasion to entertain the kids!  In the early 1970’s he and a friend opened a restaurant near Campus Corner called PJ’s!  In his past OSU days, he managed the catering services at Willham dormitories (which were demolished in 2005). 

PJ’s favorite thing about being a part of University Dining Services is interacting with the students.  He truly values the relationship she builds with his student workers – he says they keep his mind young!  He spends a lot of time each day working with students, and it is definitely one of his favorite things about his job.

PJ is passionate about food.  He is always strives for the highest quality of products and people to provide the best experience possible in his dining unit.  He genuinely loves preparing and cooking food from scratch.  He can be found using his skills in every aspect available to him to ensure his restaurants are delivering great products and excellent experiences.  You can find him anywhere between the office, the kitchen, the line, and the dining room.  He does it all – food prep, cooking, bringing the heavy trays to the line, straightening up the areas, wiping tables, greeting guests.  We are so lucky to have him ad Adams Market – making it such a great place to work and eat.

PJ tells us “I’ve probably made like 100,000 pizzas in my life!”  OSU and UDS are privileged to have someone on our side that is so enthusiastic about food, service, and students.  Next time you are in Adams Market, seek him out and say hello!


Best Kept Secrets of UDS: New Menu Items with Kale

Posted on February 6, 2015

With over 30 different dining options, there are places, people and things in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week focuses on the new salads and menu items including kale as an ingredient that have rolled out this month.  Read on to learn more about the new recipes and to learn more about kale.
UDS has introduced 4 new dishes this semester.  3 are salads, and one is a hot dish.  3 of the new items feature kale as a main ingredient.  Why? Because the world needs more kale! Using kale in menu offerings has been trending up in the food service industry the last couple of years, and it was time to take advantage of this movement.  In addition to that, the recent availability of baby kale – which is much more tender and has many more applications than traditional kale – made it obvious there was no better time to develop and implement these new recipes.
The new menu offerings were developed by our Chef de Cuisine, Stephen Landers, along with other staff members.  Chef Landers joined UDS in the summer of 2014, and has been instrumental in implementing this initiative.  The first salad is the “Hearty Greens Salad” which was developed by Chef Landers.  This salad includes romaine lettuce, baby kale, grape tomatoes, red onions and cucumber.  It is available in the Choose Orange cooler at Union Express in the Student Union.  Next, we offer the “Colorful Kale Salad” with a recipe inspired by Vedda Hsu, Manager of Kerr-Drummond Dining. The ingredients are roasted tofu, red peppers, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), baby kale, parmesan cheese, and a vinaigrette dressing.  This salad is available in the Grab N Go sections of Union Express and Mambo Italiano in the Student Union, as well as Café Libro in the Edmon Low Library.  The third salad, “Green Wheat and Kale Salad” was adapted by Chef Landers via the InHarvest recipe collection.  This one contains green wheat, baby kale, parmesan cheese and a Caesar vinaigrette dressing.  You can find this salad in the Grab N Go cooler at Mambo Italiano.
The final new dish is offered at Passport International Cuisine in the Student Union on Tuesdays of the week they feature India-inspired menu items.  The recipe for “Chickpea and Kale Subzi” was developed by Chef Landers alongside Kaarthik Iyer, Assistant Dining Services Director of Student Union and Catering.  This is a hot dish, which includes baby kale, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), grape tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, turmeric, garam masala (ground spices), lime juice and vegetable stock. 
So, what is it about kale?  Some of the biggest misconceptions about this leafy green are that it is bitter and tough, and this it is only good for garnishing salad bars.  These myths are simply not true!  Historically a winter green, kale is now cultivated and available year round.  Kale has many health benefits.  It has just 33 calories per cup!  Plus, one cup has nearly 3 grams of protein, 2.5 grams of fiber (which helps manage blood sugar and makes you feel full), Vitamins A, C, and K.  This nutrient-rich vegetable also includes folate, which is a B vitamin key for brain development.  Other benefits include the alpha-linoleic acid, which is an omega-3 fatty acid – good for your general health in a plethora of ways.
UDS is always looking for new menu items that are on-trend, healthy, and meet the needs of our students.  There are always new items in the pipeline – going through the standard recipe testing and input procedures that are in place.  Right now, UDS is hosting a FRESH MIX Healthy Salad recipe contest for students to get one of their own creations featured in our Grab N Go coolers!  For more information on that challenge or to enter, visit the Healthy Dining page on our website.

Best Kept Secrets of UDS: Certified Healthy Restaurants

Posted on January 30, 2015

With over 30 different dining options, there are places and people in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week is a distinguished award we received this month.  Read on to learn more about the Oklahoma Health Department’s Certified Healthy Restaurant program.

Two UDS dining concepts have been distinguished as “Certified Healthy Restaurants” from the Oklahoma State Department of Health. The certification was given to the “Which Wich” sandwich franchise located in the Kerr-Drummond residence hall, and the “Hard Wok Grill” located in the Adams Market dining facility.

The Certified Healthy Oklahoma Restaurants Program began in 2009 as an extension of the Certified Healthy Business Oklahoma Program.  The Program recognizes single venues, local and national chain restaurants and worksite venues that offer healthy options and environments for their patrons.  Criteria for certifications include:  a smoke-free environment, healthy food choices for children and adults and nutritional information for restaurant patrons. 

Cass Ring, UDS Nutrition Coordinator, facilitated the application process for the UDS submissions.  She began by reviewing all of the varied menu offerings at all of the UDS locations, and surveying the list of past winners with the Oklahoma State Department of Health website.  After researching the options and qualifications, she felt Hard Wok Grill and Which Wich would be best suited for this honorable distinction.  The application process included descriptions and nutrition facts for menu items, as well as data for meeting criteria for the environment.   She completed and submitted he applications last fall, and UDS was notified of certification early this month.

Which Wich is an international franchise with its roots in Dallas, TX, which takes gourmet sandwich making to the next level by allowing guests to fully customize their ‘wich any way they like it.  The chain offers healthy, bread-less options such as the “Bowl Wich” and the “Lettuce Wich” in addition to its “Skinny”, vegan, and vegetarian options.  The Hard Wok Grill is an Oklahoma State UDS original dining concept serving made-to-order stir-fry meals prepared on a round Mongolian BBQ grill.  With more than 20 fresh vegetable options, 4 protein choices including tofu and shrimp, and 4 house-made sauces to tie it all together – there are endless healthy combinations at Hard Wok.

We are honored to be classified with this distinction!  It is an honor to be recognized for this accomplishment.  Be sure to try both Which Wich and hard Wok Grill and let us know what you think!


Best Kept Secrets of UDS: Rita Henley

Posted on January 23, 2015

With over 30 different dining options, there are places and people in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week is one of our most valuable employees, Rita Henley.  Read on to learn more about her role and contributions to UDS.

Rita is the Baker for UDS.  She is based at the dining hall at Scott-Parker-Wentz, and has been with Oklahoma State University and dining for over 37 years!  She went to school in Ripley, and is the fourth of 5 children – 2 brothers and 2 sisters.  In her free time, Rita enjoys baking, sewing, and embroidery work.

Rita’s favorite thing about being a part of University Dining Services is his being able to try out different recipes then testing them on her customers and co-workers.  She enjoys working side by side with students.  This allows her the opportunity to teach them how to bake and decorate.  Along with her co-workers, Rita is responsible for supplying our dining units with all the bakery items they need on a daily basis.  Rita also enjoys talking to the customers (students) when they come in to order cakes.  She really enjoys the process of finding out what they like, what they want on the cake, and taking that to a finished product.

In her time as a baker with OSU, Rita has implemented and perfected various recipes for decorated cookies, cakes, and other pastries.  She gets her inspiration from the trends she sees, decides to give it a try, makes it, and has others taste test it.  Then, she will put it out to see how well it sells.  She is always researching ideas and then putting them forth to the customers for every holiday or sports season.  Rita takes full ownership in and genuinely enjoys making her bakery display cases look fantastic.  You can see her baking, decorating, sewing, and basket making skills all showcased in these displays!  When a customer looks at her display case, they are seeing the real Rita and her ideas and talent.  She is famous for her cupcakes that are sold campus wide at Little Bakery, Caribou Coffee, and Newton’s.

Her favorite UDS place to eat is Mambo Italiano in the Student Union.  You can catch her there in the summer when it is less crowded!  We are so privileged to have her as our baker.  Her skill and vision is unparalleled and she is truly an asset to the department.


Best Kept Secrets of UDS: Sustainability

Posted on January 16, 2015
With over 30 different dining options, there are places and people in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week is one of our most important initiatives, sustainability on campus.  Read on to learn more about this program and its impact on UDS.
With more than 1/3 of the annual University Dining Services budget dedicated to sustainable food products, it is quite clear that this is an important issue to the UDS program.  UDS spends more than $100,000 annually on organic food options, including products like Amy’s Kitchen, Horizon milk, Organic lemonade soda, and Spring Mix Salads.  Some of our initiatives include using eco-friendly, bio-degradable packaging, our Farm Fresh program, using and selling Made in Oklahoma products, hosting a Farmer’s Market in the Fall, and the sale of our reusable cups with reduced price refills.
Our eco-friendly disposable products are made with natural crops, post-consumer recycles fiber, recycled plastic, renewable resources and/or compostable or biodegrade materials.  These products can be found at many of our campus dining locations.  We also support a sustainable environment by using a tray-less dining system in the Student Union and other locations.  This eliminates unnecessary waste and saves water and energy that would be used in washing trays.  Our kitchens house composting food bins that are filled and then collected by local farmers each week and the food waste is recycled as fertilizer.  We also support recycling of our cardboard products by sorting it into separate dumpsters.  Cooking oils are filtered on a regular basis to extend the life of the oils. UDS also coordinates recycling of empty vending soda cans through Habitat of Humanity.
Through our Farm Fresh and Made in Oklahoma programs, UDS has relationships with more than 40 local farmers and vendors. With our Farm Fresh initiative, UDS buys Oklahoma grown produce and offers recipes that incorporate fresh produce.  We feature local farms and their products monthly, including cantaloupe, watermelon, and mushrooms.  Vendors such as Ralph’s Packing, The Cheese Factory, and Kratos are part of our Made in Oklahoma program.  This project introduces students to various locally produced or processed food products.  In the fall semester, UDS sets up a Farmer’s Market on the Student Union Plaza weekly and features a variety of products from local vendors including Hideaway Farms, Bella Vista Farms, and Aviva Fine Foods.  It is a great place to get to know where your food comes from.  We have server locations on campus including Café Libro, Caribou Coffee, Roots, and Stout Coffee that ensure Fair Trade practices are used with their coffee growers – ensuring that the farmers are treated justly and paid fairly for their work.
There are many ways you can get involved and help UDS with its sustainability efforts on the OSU campus.  One way is to purchase our Cup for a Cause.  This eco-friendly, reusable cup sells for $6.99 in many locations across campus, and can be refilled with fountain drinks or coffee for $0.99 campus wide (excluding Caribou Coffee).  Using this cup saves trees and cuts back on paper usage.  A few other tips for contributing to sustainability include incorporating more plants-based foods into your diet, eating less processed and packaged foods, and eating seasonally available foods. 
For more information, check out our website at or view the digital signage devoted to Healthy Dining and Sustainability at Café Libro and Twenty Something.


Best Kept Secrets of UDS: Yeonho Shin

Posted on April 25, 2014

With over 30 different dining options, there are places and people in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week is a valued employee, Yeonho Shin.  Read on to learn more about him and his contributions to UDS.

Yeonho is the Graduate Research Associate and Sustainability Coordinator at UDS Administration.  He has been with Oklahoma State University for over 10 years.  Originally from South Korea, he has earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in the field of hospitality here at Oklahoma State and he is currently finishing up his doctoral degree in Human Sciences with a specialization in hospitality administration.  He will be “Dr. Shin” very soon – and we are so proud of him!  His wife is also a doctoral student, studying nutritional sciences, and they have a 6 year old son.  In his very limited free time, he enjoys playing golf.  He also loves road trips with his family.  His son has already traveled to 25 states by car!

Yeonho’s favorite thing about being a part of University Dining Services is his coworkers.  He loves all of the fun, friendly people he works with – feels like they are his family!  He likes interacting with the students as part of his job.  He makes the local food sampling and informational tables a fun place to be featuring Made in Oklahoma or Farm Fresh products, highlighting sustainability efforts such as Cups for a Cause, Organic Foods, Reduce Food Waste Campaign and many others.

Yeonho has had a hand in many different UDS projects over the years he has been here.  In 2007, he standardized the catering recipe book for the catering department.  He also developed employee manuals for all non-franchise concepts in the Student Union and trained employees.  In 2008, he was involved in the work to make Café Libro in the Library a reality as well as helping with Student Union dining renovation projects.  He has managed Java Dave’s (previous Student Union coffee shop) and Café Libro in the past as well. 

In his time working under Terry Baker for UDS Administration, he has developed new sustainability programs and managed them.  Initiatives including the Farm Fresh program to promote locally grown produce on campus, Made in Oklahoma which promotes food products make here in our great state, the campus Farmer’s Market, and Cups for a Cause (reusable drink cups) are all examples of the work he has done.  He also developed more than 50 new menu items featuring locally grown produce and introduced new food products made in Oklahoma to our kitchens.  We currently work with more than 40 Oklahoma food companies!

Yeonho has earned several awards while working with UDS.  He won a Silver Medal for Best Local Foods Recipe Contest from the National Association of College & University Food Services.  Also, he was recognized as the Outstanding Graduate Assistant from the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs at Oklahoma State University.  Additionally, he was awarded as a contributor for Kidchen Expedition Cook Book from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry.  Plus, he has been honored as Employee of the Month for Student Union Dining.

Yeonho is an accomplished employee who is greatly appreciated by University Dining Services.  Since he moved to UDS Administration in 2009, he has made countless contributions to the efforts that have kept UDS successful and on the cutting edge of dining services.  While we are extremely proud of all of his wonderful achievements, it will be a very sad day when he leaves for his future in just a few short days.  Congratulations, Dr. Shin!  We wish you all the very best in your upcoming endeavors!  And, thanks for the memories!


Best Kept Secrets of UDS: NetNutrition®

Posted on April 18, 2014

With over 30 different dining options, there are places, people and THINGS in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week is our new tool on the website – Net Nutrition.  Read on to learn more about this interactive tool for viewing menus and approximating nutritional information.

This past week, University Dining Services launched its new interactive food nutrition information database system that helps students make healthier eating choices.  NetNutrition® allows you to view menus and compare selections, plan a balanced meal, screen menu item for allergens and special dietary information, and filter dining locations and menus for preferences such as vegetarian or vegan.   The program provides comprehensive nutritional and allergen information for every menu item, entrée, and fresh made grab-and-go product that are offered across the University’s 32 different dining outlets.

The database has an inventory of over 10,000 ingredients and 1,500 recipes.  The first phase of the project was adding the nutrition facts labels to the grab-and-go items that were completed last year.  As Oklahoma State University continue to strive towards being “America’s Healthiest Campus, UDS wanted to help students have easy and instant access to all the information they need to make healthier choices.  One of the benefits of this program is that it allows customers to find vegan and vegetarian options on campus; it also allows access to allergen and other dietary preference information all in one easy to access place. 

The Daily Value Percentages featured in the database are based off the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA’s) for males and females between the ages of 19-24.  Using the filters placed into the platform, students, faculty and staff can make healthier choices by sorting their options based on location, allergens or preferences such as vegan, kosher, locally grown, etc.  Right from the web on a computer, laptop, tablet or phone, customers can see nutritional information for not only specific menu items, but for entire meals or days.

To get started, you can click the link to the left in the main menu bar of our website or click here from this post.  UDS wants to make sure students and the OSU campus have everything they need to make smarter, healthier choices.  Whether it’s the choice of a yogurt parfait instead of a candy bar, or an allergy has been avoided, the information in NetNutrition can help make these decisions easier and more informed.  NetNutrion® puts all this information right at your fingertips!


Best Kept Secrets of UDS: Hard Wok Grill

Posted on April 11, 2014

With over 30 different dining options, there are places and people in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week is Hard Wok Grill, one of our concepts from Adams Market.  Read on to learn more about this dining concept.

Located in Adams Market - the only building on campus completely dedicated to dining, Hard Wok Grills is a restaurant concept where you build your own stir-fry creations from fresh ingredients then watch it be cooked right in front of you!  If you have never visited Adam’s Market, it can be found at 1113 W. Scott Street – behind the NOC building and across from the Monroe Street garage.  Hard Wok is open from 11:00 am to 8:00pm Monday through Friday. 

Adams Market is a very nice stand-alone building offering a variety of food concepts, including a small convenience store.  For the last 7 years, this dining location has served the north side of campus and the residence halls surrounding it.  The most popular menu items are anything stir fry served with the excellent Mongolian sauce, and of course the Mongolian Beef sandwich.  This sandwich is a real crowd please and one of the best sellers from their menu.

Hard Wok Grill takes pride in serving quality of food and achieving top notch customer satisfaction.  They are in a unique position to create dishes specifically designed for each individual customer, and their goal is to get it right every time!  So, next time you are on the north west edge of campus, be sure to stop in Adams Market, head over to Hard Wok Grill and create your own signature dish!  Tell ‘em PJ sent ya!


Best Kept Secrets of UDS: Tammy Burns

Posted on April 4, 2014

With over 30 different dining options, there are places and people in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our feature this week is an employee, Tammy Burns.  Read on to learn more about her and her contributions to UDS.

Tammy is a supervisor at Twenty Something, and has been with Oklahoma State University for over 10 years.  She has an Associate’s Degree in Childhood Development, and has been married for 32 years.  She has three children, and 5 grandchildren!  In her free time she enjoys spoiling her grandkids, as well as traveling and touring with her husband on their Honda Goldwing.

In her service with UDS, she has gotten to meet many people from all over the world.  This is her favorite part of her job!  She enjoys listening to and interacting with the students as it is a great way to learn about different customs and cultures.  While she loves working at the convenience store, her favorite place to eat on campus is the All You Care to Eat Market Buffet at Adam’s Market.

Tammy has worked diligently to make Twenty Something a great place for students, and to bring them a little piece of home.  She uses her creativity to come up with promotions and selections that make the students comfortable and happy. 

One way Tammy found a way to carry out her vision is in the recipe wall.  There, students can choose recipe cards to try where all off the ingredients available for purchase in the store – an easy way for students to make their own meals.  She also creates and maintains the displays in the “window” that highlight holidays and special items.  For Mom’s Day (THIS WEEKEND!), the window is showing the special box of chocolates students can purchase for their mothers.  The Burt’s Bee’s product display is also an area of expertise for Tammy.  It is a year round display, and offers something for everyone. 

Next time you’re in Twenty Something, tell Tammy hello!  Take a look around and see what all she does to make it a welcoming place for students to shop.  And ask her about her grandkids – it’s sure to make her day!


Best Kept Secrets of UDS: Roots

Posted on March 28, 2014

With over 30 different dining options, there are places and people in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Our first featured location is Roots.  Read on to learn more about this dining concept.

Located in the North Classroom building, Roots is an all Grab N Go dining location that serves Seattle's Best coffee and features the best atmosphere on campus.  The North Classroom Building is on the corner of Hall of Fame and Monroe, across from the Transit Center.  Roots is open from 7:30am to 2:30pm Monday through Friday.

Roots was founded in February 2009, and was set up during a snow storm to make sure they made the opening date!  Often called “The Happy Place,” customers always remark about how friendly the atmosphere is there and that it is a great place to study and hang out.  The best seller on their menu is the PB&J, followed by the Turkey & Swiss and the Caesar Wraps.  Fruit cups and yogurt cups are popular as well.

The most unique menu item they have is their European Salad.  Pair that with the EXCELLENT customer service you will experience there, and you will know why Joy is everyone’s favorite Roots employee!  She keeps it exciting by purchasing fun pens to sign receipts and sometimes has been known to surprise a customer with a little gift.  Everyone misses her when she is not there.

So, next time you are in that area of campus, be sure to stop in Roots, say hello to Joy, and choose your favorite Grab N Go item!  Hope to see you there soon!


Revealing our Secrets

Posted on March 21, 2014

With over 30 different dining options, there are places and people in University Dining Services you may not know anything about.  These are the “Best Kept Secrets of UDS.”  Did you know there are over 120 fulltime employees in UDS and approximately 760 part time student workers on our staff?  It takes a small army to keep things running smoothly and to be able to offer such a wide diversity of options.


Over the next several weeks, some dining locations and personalities that make up University Dining Services will be highlighted in order to reveal the Best Kept Secrets of UDS.  Different facts and clues will be featured on social media (follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) with the hashtag #UDSsecrets that will lead up to a blog post on Friday.  These weekly articles will let you in on the behind the scenes details and expose facts or trivia to help you get to know your choices around campus.  For the concept and franchise locations, information will include facts about their history, featured menu items, and best sellers.  When an employee is the focus, the article will contain a glimpse into their passion for food, food service, and Oklahoma State University.


If you have a suggestion for a location or an individual to be featured as a “Best Kept Secret,” please let us know!  The places that you want to know about are the ones best suited to share here in this space.  Contact us on social media or though the website to make suggestions.  These are the kinds of secrets that need to be shared!


Check back next week for our first installment of UDS Best Kept Secrets! #UDSsecrets