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Blugold Dining makes special effort for international students

RELEASED: Sept. 30, 2011

EAU CLAIRE — Within a month of beginning their classes at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, international students have expressed their appreciation for a dining services program that makes a special effort to make them feel at home.

"In working with the staff of the university dining service, I have been so impressed with their willingness to accommodate both the dietary and culinary needs of our growing, and increasingly diverse, international student population," said Dr. Karl Markgraf, director of the Center for International Education. "Christian Wise, Blugold Dining's general manager and executive chef, has been very receptive to making changes to the menu to meet their needs. His expertise is not limited to serving the student population on campus — I know that he helps various student groups source different spices and ingredients not usually found in the average Eau Claire supermarket. Blugold Dining is very proactive in helping our international students dine better, even when they are off campus preparing their own meals, using ingredients from their home cuisines."

Through the Center for International Education and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Blugold Dining learned that the Chinese student population had increased substantially at UW-Eau Claire. Responding to a suggestion that cooked rice be offered at every meal in the board operation, Blugold Dining researched condiments that help make rice a complete meal. Heavy soy sauce, chili paste, sriracha, regular soy sauce, dried shrimp, sesame oil, rice vinegar, red vinegar, furikake, hot chili oil and fish sauce are available wherever rice is served. Asian students have been pleased, and all students are learning from the diverse menu.

"I like all kinds of food and that's why even being a junior and living off-campus I still go to the cafeteria," said Carlos Gorina of Spain, treasurer of the International Students Association. "It is healthy food and the environment is pretty chill."

"We want our international students to feel comfortable and welcome in their new home, and recognize how important food and their housing arrangements are in their transition to living in the United States," said Dr. Beth Hellwig, vice chancellor for student affairs.

Sodexo Operations LLC, has provided Blugold Dining service on the UW-Eau Claire campus since 2002. The Blugold Dining program is administered by the University Centers, a Student Affairs unit of UW-Eau Claire.

-30-

JS/DW

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