Radford University reinvents dining experience through hot, cold lockers

RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) -Mobile food ordering has been popular during the COVID-19 pandemic but keeping food hot or cold while you pick it up has its challenges.



a display in a store: Radford University has a first-of-its-kind solution to social distancing during meals combining the concept of lockers and climate control.


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Radford University has a first-of-its-kind solution to social distancing during meals combining the concept of lockers and climate control.

Now, Radford University has a first-of-its-kind solution pairing the two.

Campus might be quiet right now, but have been busy installing food lockers to safely enhance the dining experience during COVID times.

“This is an opportunity for our students, faculty and staff to have contactless ordering,” said university spokesperson Caitlyn Scaggs. “We certainly hope that students, faculty and staff realize this is an extension of our commitment to provide a safe and engaging learning environment here on the Radford campus.”

The pandemic has caused colleges around the world to reinvent the dining experience and Radford is no exception.

You’ll soon be able to skip the line at five popular restaurants on campus and your food will stay hot under the red lights (145 degrees) or cold under the blue (35 degrees). There is also an ‘ambient’ option that has no temperature control. All lockers can switch as needed.

The feature is available for students or staff who have dining plans and does not require additional funds.

Breezing through the app you can customize and schedule your food pickups. Once you’re done and your meal is prepared, a staff member locks it for up to 20 minutes in a food locker.

Upon your arrival, you scan a barcode then the locker will pop open.

“This is first-of-its-kind. There are certainly mobile ordering options out there, there are also locker systems out there, but pairing the two with the temperature controls that are found in this locker system is novel,” Scaggs said. “It’s very unique and we are so thrilled to have it here at Radford now.”

There are four locker units on campus that you can ‘get and go’.

“We’re so excited for [the students’] return and that there will be one more way to enjoy their Highlander experience.”

The lockers were made possible through a partnership between the university and Chartwell’s Higher Education using technologies by CBORD Group, RPI Industries and Panasonic System Solutions Company of North America.

Copyright 2020 WDBJ. All rights reserved.

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Chartwells Higher Education Releases Innovative Plan for the Future of Campus Dining

Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Chartwells Higher Education announced today its Path Forward plan to help the 300+ colleges and universities it serves plan for campus dining in 2021 and beyond. Path Forward focuses on customizable strategies and solutions, including innovative meal plans, ghost kitchens, mental health programs, boxed catering, and safety technologies, to support COVID-19 challenges, safe dining, and student successes.

Path Forward was informed by responses to a recent survey conducted by Chartwells to explore how colleges and universities are planning for enrollment, virtual classes, housing, dining, catering, and more in 2021. Survey respondents include campus leadership partners from across the United States. Some of the initial findings include:

  • While over 40% of respondents believe enrollment in Fall 2021 will be similar to 2020, another 30% expect to return to enrollment of 2019 or increase by as much as 10%.
  • By Fall 2021, nearly 60% of respondents believe on-campus housing will return to full capacity levels.
  • Nearly 70% of respondents are looking for ways to continue to offer take-away in-resident dining as well as reopen resident dining halls.
  • Over 50% are interested in mobile ordering and pick-up retail that eliminates checkouts and want options for on-campus delivery.

Path Forward was developed by a team of Chartwells seasoned operators, culinary experts, dietitians, chefs, and marketers. Last April, Chartwells’ Path to Open plan helped colleges safely return students to campus. Now, Path Forward looks to the future to see how students have and will continue to evolve during COVID-19 and beyond. Path Forward covers multiple facets of operating an innovative campus dining program, including:

  • Meal Plan Solutions: Nontraditional meal plans customized to changing student needs.
  • Ghost Kitchens: Pared-down commercial cooking spaces with no dine-in option that helps streamline inventory and menu management.
  • New Catering Options: New, unique catering options that incorporate popular food trends and can be used with small gatherings to support CDC guidelines that limit group sizes.
  • Safety Technologies: New digital solutions that help protect students and maintain safety protocols, while increasing communication, convenience and accessibility.

“We are pleased to see that our campus partners and their communities have started to adapt to today’s many COVID-related challenges. As we looked to next year, we challenged ourselves to create a catalog of innovation for our dining locations focused on student engagement and success,” said Lisa McEuen, CEO of Chartwells Higher Education. “Our goal with Path Forward is to help solve the continued challenges brought on by COVID-19, create a safe but strong student experience and enable campus-specific plans that focus on culinary innovation.”

About Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services
Chartwells is the recognized leader in contract food service management, hospitality and award-winning guest service within over 300 college and university dining environments throughout academic institutions across the U.S. Chartwells’ nutritious cuisine not only satisfies the unique appetites, lifestyles and dietary needs of every guest dining on campus,

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Boston University students must show COVID-19 status badges to enter dining halls and other campus facilities

Boston University students must have a green badge to show that they’re up to date with COVID-19 testing and symptom screening to gain entry to dining halls and other facilities on campus, officials said.

Boston University officials said the stricter measures were necessary due to “declining compliance” and a “worrisome increase in the daily numbers of cases of the virus among our student body, as well as our staff, over the last week.”

In a letter posted on the university’s website on Oct. 20, Boston University president Robert A. Brown and Kenneth Elmore, the associate provost and dean of students, reminded students that they must continue to follow the protocols for testing, screening, and social distancing.

“To emphasize the importance of these rules, beginning on Thursday, October 22, 2020, we will require a green daily attestation badge in order to enter our dining halls, the George Sherman Union, and several other public spaces on our campus,” they wrote. “We hope this will be a reminder to everyone of the importance of daily symptom attestation and testing for keeping our campus safe.”

According to the COVID-19 policies posted on Boston University’s website, students who are up to date with their testing and daily screening receive a green-colored badge that appears on their mobile device. Faculty can ask students to show their badges prior to starting class. Students who are unable to show a green badge may be asked to leave class.

Starting Thursday, BU students are required to show a green badge – that can be downloaded on a school website using their name and student ID – that they have tested negative for COVID-19 before they can enter certain public spaces on campus like the dining hall.
Starting Thursday, BU students are required to show a green badge – that can be downloaded on a school website using their name and student ID – that they have tested negative for COVID-19 before they can enter certain public spaces on campus like the dining hall.John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

“You should not return to that class session, and must resolve any issues you have with testing or attestation before attending the next in-person class,” the website states. “If you refuse to leave the class, the faculty member will inform the class that they will not proceed with instruction until you leave the room. If you still refuse to leave the room, the faculty member will dismiss the class and contact your academic Dean’s office for follow up.”

In their Oct. 20 letter, Brown and Elmore wrote that over the previous seven days the university had seen the largest number of new cases since the final week of move-in back in August.

“It is the responsibility of everyone in our community to minimize the spread of COVID-19,” they wrote. “We started the year with protocols in place to protect our in-person learning environment and for us to be able to gather, safely, in the midst of this pandemic. For the common good, we resumed in-person operations with necessary restrictions to keep us safe. Let us recommit to a shared understanding of the critical importance of these protocols and restrictions so that we may care for each other and ourselves.”


Emily Sweeney can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter

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