CWU News

CWU Dining Services Joins Menus of Change University Research Collaborative

Menus of Change

CWU joined the Menus of Change collaborative in May 2021.

Central Washington University Dining Services joined the Menus of Change University Research Collaborative (MCURC) program this spring after being evaluated on its preparedness and willingness to contribute to collaborative research between all of the member institutions nationwide. 

CWU is just the second university in Washington to be accepted to the MCURC, a partnership between higher education institutions that are seeking to improve sustainability and nutritional value in the food being prepared and served on university campuses.

The program is a subsidiary of Menus of Change, an initiative founded by The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. CWU’s membership has long been a goal for Director of Dining Services Dean Masuccio.

“It was part of what I envisioned for the future of our program when I came to CWU in 2018,” he said. “I knew it was something that was of value for us to move towards.” 

As part of the MCURC, Dining Services will be providing fresh, new menu options to student dining facilities, along with opportunities for student research in the departments of Health Sciences and Food Science and Nutrition. The research will focus on ways to expand local food purchasing, limit food waste, and improve the sustainability of dining programs at all member institutions. 

Every MCURC member contributes in this way, sharing research and programs in an ongoing effort to improve the way people across the country eat, starting with the food choices they make while pursuing their education.

“It’s not just dining,” Masuccio said. “It’s the academic side of the university in concert with the dining program, sustainability efforts, and others. It’s a collaborative within CWU, as well as between universities nationwide.”

Masuccio spent the past three years making sure CWU was in a good position to apply, and his team already has introduced some of MCURC’s principles at Fresh Bar in the Central Marketplace. As part of the initiative, CWU will soon be introducing MenuConnect, an online resource for dietary restrictions and nutritional information. More MCURC messaging and practices will be implemented over time. 

Masuccio believes Dining Services serves a larger purpose within the university, and one of his goals is to move the department in a healthier, more sustainable direction. Joining the MCURC is just one way CWU can realize this objective.

“We’re not just here to provide food and beverage,” he said. “We’re here to support students’ educational pursuits and form collaborations within the university.”

Learn more about the MCURC on their website.

Media contact: Rune Torgersen, Department of Public Affairs.