University of Kentucky

Eli Capilouto

Building Community through Dining Login to comment

Friday, July 11 2014 08:54:13 AM

During the summer, the University of Kentucky negotiated a 15-year, nearly $250 million contract with Aramark to create a public-private partnership for dining that will transform this vital service for our students, faculty, staff and the larger community we serve. The partnership is an opportunity to improve service, provide healthier food at lower cost to our students, invest millions in facilities and enhance our commitment to locally sourced food.

Our campus, community and Board of Trustees diligently prodded, poked and asked questions throughout our decision-making process. While the investments and financial returns are important in advancing the transformation of our campus, our decision is not simply one of bricks and mortar.

Our decision to partner with Aramark is about stirring human transformation through community. In doing so, we must ask ourselves, “What is our purpose – our responsibility to each other and the world? How do we support each other in a community?”

Mary Lynne and I are fans of NPR’s award winning program, On Being. The show explores a variety of perspectives, experiences and beliefs that center around human life.  The topics explore what it means to be human – and what it means to be part of a community.

Past guests include Rosanna Cash, who talked about her love of language, quantum mechanics and her search for new sources of creativity and meaning. Vincent Harding – civil rights veteran who recently passed away – shared his perspective on social change in a multi-racial, multi-religion democracy.

Recently, Reverend Nadia Bolz-Weber was a guest on the program. She leads the House of All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. Rev. Bolz-Weber disagrees with the notion that God will never give you more than you can handle. She says, “God will never give you more than your community can bear or you as a member of a community.”

Our effort in housing and dining is to build community for a new generation – millennials who grew up at a time when the kitchen never closed. The spaces that will come to life over the next few years are more than dining halls, they are spaces for people to gather, collaborate and create. We are opening new kitchens, so as individuals and community they can grow as a family with bonds that nurture their ties to each other and their responsibility to community and world.

We do so building upon the work of our current dining services, those employees and in a spirit of 150-year proud tradition as a land grant university. Our partnership with Aramark represents exciting progress to strengthen community on our campus. Key provisions include:

·         Price reductions for UK's six current student meal plans, with the most expensive plan falling in price by 26 percent or about $740 per semester.

·         $70 million in facilities investments, including $40 million in new facilities, will be made by 2017-2018, including the new K-Lair at Haggin Hall and substantial upgrades to the Student Center Food Court, which will be ready in fall 2014.

·         A new $32 million Commons for Fall 2015 will feature Kentucky Proud products, sustainable design elements and the nation’s first on-campus Panera Bread Co.

·         Several new food brands will locate on campus, including a new locally owned Common Grounds, Rising Roll Gourmet, Einstein Bros. Bagels and Greens to Go.

·         More emphasis on nutrition and wellness with a full-time dietician hired by Aramark, digital menu boards, a nutrition website and mobile apps for nutrition and fitness.

·         Aramark provides guarantees to increase Kentucky Proud and local food purchasing, including an 11 percent increase in the first year of the contract with $2 million in guaranteed purchases. Over the life of the contract, local food and Kentucky Proud purchases are projected to grow each year and represent approximately 25 percent of total food purchases by the end of the term.

·         Significant sustainability initiatives include LEED certification being sought on new construction, hiring of a full-time sustainability coordinator and implementation of Green Thread business practices, including waste stream management practices, minimizing food waste and supporting composting, energy audits and other energy and conservation initiatives.

·         The creation of a "Food Hub" in partnership with the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, including a $5 million guaranteed investment in an unprecedented academic partnership.

·         Current UK employees with dining — about 110 people — will have the opportunity to remain university employees with the same salary and benefits — a guarantee made by the university more than a year ago.

·         Aramark is committed to growing the number of full-time and student employees.

Over the last two years, we gathered in a shared dialogue with campus and community stakeholders whose feedback was critical to negotiating this impactful partnership. I want to thank everyone involved with this process –especially the students, faculty, staff and community members who made this possible. Together, we are building new communities for the UK family.

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Progress You Have Made Possible Login to comment

Friday, June 13 2014 02:00:16 PM

The UK Board of Trustees met on Tuesday for the last time this fiscal year. They took three actions that underscore the exciting transformation and continued progress taking place at UK because of you.

First, the Board approved a $3 billion operating budget for UK for the upcoming year. You can read more details about the budget on UKNOW. This record budget — about $300 million more than last year — includes a two percent merit raise for faculty and staff. It also includes $11 million in additional investment in student financial aid -- another signal that this institution places students first in everything that we do.

Second, the Board authorized the $150 million fit-out of two additional floors of Chandler Hospital. UK HealthCare now represents about 40 percent of our overall budget. In the last decade, patient volumes in our health-care system have nearly doubled and revenues have grown from about $300 million to about $1 billion. Those numbers, quite powerfully, mean that we increasingly are the first choice for patients in the region with the most complex care needs.

Finally, we are moving forward, backed by the strong support of the Board, with a 15-year, nearly $245 million partnership with Aramark to manage dining services at UK. You can read details about the partnership on UKNOW

This partnership will mean additional food options as well as healthier and more convenient choices. As importantly, every single one of the meal plans we offer students will be reduced in price this fall as a result of this innovative partnership — another sign of our continued commitment to an affordable, high-quality educational experience for our students. At the same time, the partnership will include some $70 million in investment in new and existing facilities on our campus.

Of course, this partnership isn’t only about food, although that is important. It is about creating a sense of community among students, faculty and staff. We are creating the kind of thriving, residential research campus that only exists in a few places in this country. We are creating a campus as good as our people.

You make that possible. I am humbled to be part of this special community.

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Last week, the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees approved several measures related to our 2014-15 operating and capital budget. We have three principles guiding every decision we make:

  • Propose moderate tuition and fee increases to ensure affordability.
  • Continue consistent faculty and staff pay raises.
  • Ensure no across-the-board cuts and minimize any impact on our academic core.

The Council on Postsecondary Education, which has the statutory authority to set tuition rates at the public institutions, recently established a ceiling on tuition increases over the next two years totaling no more than eight percent.

In alignment with that, at their meeting last week, the Board of Trustees approved a five percent increase in tuition for Fall 2014. This means another year of modest tuition increases. Over the last four years, the average increase has been five percent. In the years before that, the average was in double-digits.

As part of the budget proposal, we also included a measure to increase University-funded financial aid and scholarships by more than $11 million. This academic year 85.5 percent of undergraduates at UK from Kentucky received financial aid that did not have to be repaid. And for  those students, the average out-of-pocket expense for tuition and mandatory fees was $1,079 per semester ― nearly $150 less than the year before.

While no numbers can diminish the fact that families are bearing more of the cost burden for higher education in the wake of declining state support, we can be proud that this university is keeping the needs of Kentuckians first.

In June, as part of the 2014-15 budget, the Board of Trustees will consider a two percent merit increase pool for faculty and staff to build on the five percent pool we implemented this fiscal year. We will continue investing in our most valuable resource ― our people.

Finally, the state budget, which will be enacted in July, cuts our annual appropriation by nearly $4.3 million. Our state appropriations have now been reduced by about $55 million since 2008. With state funding cuts, our plan to raise compensation, and having to manage increases in fixed costs such as utilities and financial aid, we face nearly $40 million in additional funding needs for the coming year.

We will respond to this challenge by cutting dollars from pools of funds set aside for such things as debt service on new construction and other facility initiatives (and do so without compromising ongoing projects). And we also will internally reallocate $7 million made possible through efficiencies, the creation of new revenues, and realignment of the budget.

Our continued progress is a testament to you ― your talent, your commitment and your willingness to make tough decisions.

That said, we cannot cut our way to a brighter future. It may be seductive to think so, but it is illusory to believe it.

In the last three years alone, with our board's leadership, we have started ― or been authorized to begin ― nearly $1 billion in construction of new facilities and renovation of existing buildings that are transforming our campus. Of that, the state has been responsible for $35 million.

UK has generated the rest through public-partnerships, a unique collaboration with our athletics department to fund academic space, fund-raising, and greater efficiencies in our operations and administration.

The University is, without question, doing its part. We will continue to urge the state to re-invest in this institution, which is so vital to Kentucky's future.

In the meantime, please know how deeply I appreciate the work you do, and the commitment you have, to this special place.

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Spring Commencement Login to comment

Monday, May 05 2014 10:14:10 AM

As our spring semester comes to a close, it is once again time to congratulate our student scholars. On Saturday, May 10, we will recognize their achievements and celebrate their future during our 147th Commencement Ceremonies.

It has been my pleasure to watch these students grow as leaders and scholars. The campus community should be proud of their dedication inside and outside of the classroom as they leave a great legacy of success and service at the University of Kentucky.

This weekend’s ceremonies will include speeches from two of the many student leaders leaving our campus to take the next step in their lives. We will hear from Emily Willett at our 1 p.m. ceremony. Emily is graduating with a degree in management from the Gatton College of Business and Economics. She has been involved in many organizations on campus, including the UK Women’s Choir, Student Government and DanceBlue.

Our 6 p.m. speaker, Pooja Reddy, is graduating with a degree in psychology from the College of Arts and Sciences. Some of her many achievements include serving as the co-creator for the “Get Fit, Get Active” initiative and working with the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. These two women exemplify the qualities that our students all strive to attain.

During our 9 a.m. ceremony honoring our graduate and professional students, we will bestow two honorary degrees. One to a Kentucky native who has led Norfolk State University for more than 22 years. The other to a long-time business leader, philanthropist, and proud University of Kentucky advocate and friend.

To our graduates, we say thank you. Your time on campus has been extraordinary, and we are proud of all that you have achieved. Your constant ability to embody our “see blue.” spirit has made you perfect representatives of your alma mater.

To those of you returning in the fall, I challenge you to volunteer as leaders and fill the roles that our graduates leave behind. Together we can further improve our campus community.

To the entire UK family, have a safe and wonderful summer, and always remember to "see blue."

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"see blue." is Seeing Green Login to comment

Thursday, May 01 2014 03:29:53 PM

In 1882, less than two decades after our establishment, the original A&M College separated from what is now Transylvania University.

We found our new home on 52 acres of park and fairground space offered to the College by the Lexington City Council.

And -- though the campus has grown to more than 900 acres, several hundred buildings and thousands of people -- we remain committed to providing a diverse landscape and inviting outdoor space near the heart of downtown Lexington.

By maintaining that environment, we honor a part of our heritage.

Amid spring’s rebirth, the University of Kentucky recently announced an initiative that will bolster the natural aesthetics of our campus. At the end of April, we kicked off a major tree planting program to add more than 400 new trees over the next year.

This landscape plan – birthed from our Master Plan process led by our partners at Sasaki -- will enhance our outdoor environment and complement our capital investments.

Vibrant landscapes add a rich dynamic to a university – fostering collaboration among students, faculty and staff, and visitors. By strengthening the natural pathways that connect our academic, residential, research, health care, and athletic spaces, we bring the campus closer together.

For more information on the initiative, please read the UKNOW story.

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