The University of Rhode Island’s dining services recently won the National Association of College and University Food Services bronze award for Residential Dining – Special Event with its Brazilian Carnival theme night from February.
“The staff really loves these events and
gets excited about them,” director of URI Dining and Retail Food Services
Steve Mello said. “It is a lot of work, but it’s gratifying at the same time. It
gives our dining halls a wow factor. We had photo booths with masks and props
so the students and faculty could take pictures, to make it an event they will
The dining services staff creates themed nights throughout the year, making meals more exciting for themselves
and for the students. The Brazilian Carnival night saw attendance at the
Mainfare increase by 15 percent, from an average of 2,033 on typical February
Tuesdays to 2,376. The idea came from Brazilian URI students in the Associates
in Cultural Exchange language program.
“They became friends with one of the cooks here, and began sharing the foods they liked,” Mello said. “We got together as a department and decided to make an event out of it so they could share their culture with other students on campus. The students helped us by providing recipes and working with us to create a menu. They were really a part of the team.”