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How Aramark, Drexel’s Dining Partner, Serves the Community

August 31, 2021

As fall approaches, Drexel Dining Services is excited to welcome Dragons new and old back to campus. There is no better time than a new school year to introduce (or reintroduce) the community to Aramark, Drexel’s on-campus dining and catering partner since 2016, comprised of Drexel Campus Dining and Chestnut Street Caterers. This partnership extends beyond the dining table, where Aramark and the University align on initiatives that impact both the campus community and adjacent neighborhoods.

Below are some of Aramark’s major ongoing collaborative projects:

The Common Market

person filling container with brussel sproutsAramark partners with The Common Market, a nonprofit regional food distributor with a mission to connect communities with good food from sustainable family farms, to provide a monthly Farm Stand to the University community. Students with Drexel Campus Dining Plans can utilize their dining dollars to purchase local, seasonal produce like apples, brussels sprouts, eggs and even honey. The Farm Stand, open to the University community, also accepts cash, credit or DragonDollars, the University’s declining balance local merchant program.

Drexel Food Lab

chefs cooking in a kitchenWhen students at Drexel asked for more vegetarian and vegan choices at Urban Eatery, Aramark, was happy to accommodate. Chefs from Aramark’s Culinary Development Kitchen often collaborate with Drexel Food Lab. Drexel Food Lab students represent the next generation of chefs and understand the Gen Z and Millennial markets. In 2019, Food Lab students developed more than 100 recipes and seven were chosen for an open taste test with professional chefs from Aramark’s Innovation Center and the Drexel Food Lab. Three finalists were chosen based on overall taste, the ability to locally source ingredients and on-trend; these finalists were then piloted at U.C. Veg, Urban Eatery’s vegetarian and vegan-friendly station that focuses on plant-based and seasonal ingredients.

Philadelphia’s Sharing Excess

food recovery network logoIn addition to deploying a number of tactics aimed at mitigating food waste from purchase through production, Aramark partners with food donation nonprofits like Philadelphia’s Sharing Excess. Through such partnerships, Drexel Campus Dining directly impacts the greater Philadelphia community by routinely donating unused, unserved food to those in need. Sharing Excess is a Philadelphia-based food sharing network, which was founded in 2018 by Drexel alumnus Evan Ehlers. Since the beginning of their partnership with the nonprofit in 2019, Drexel Campus Dining has donated an excess of 6,200 pounds of food to the greater community.

Share Food Program

Drexel ParkThrough Aramark Building Community, the organization’s global volunteer and philanthropic program, Aramark seeks to address these important community needs by partnering with Philadelphia’s Share Food Program. Located in Allegheny West, Share Food Program delivers millions of pounds of food to 1,000,000+ neighbors in need in the greater Philadelphia area each month – making them the largest hunger relief organization in our region. On Thurs., Oct. 15, 2020, the Drexel Campus Dining team assembled food donation boxes for the local community via Share Food.

As a continuation of Aramark’s partnership with Share Food Program, the Drexel Campus Dining team collaborated on a series of videos highlighting health-forward recipes made with the ingredients contained in the boxes. Fundamentals of health-forward cooking and eating were also shared with box recipients, allowing the partnership to have a lasting impact.

Aramark plans to volunteer with the Share Food Program annually as part of Aramark’s Building Communities Day.