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Colorado: Organic Campus Dining Proves to be a Success

Piazanos, the newest edition to on-campus dining, is now in the Cheyenne Arapahoe Hall. It offers natural and organic foods in a grab-n-go setting, and seems to be a great success.

Lisa Kaufmann, a senior environmental studies major, is the Sustainable Food Campaign Coordinator for the CU Environmental Center and has been working on this project since fall 2005.

"The University of Colorado has a great opportunity with our food services using and purchasing sustainable foods to improve health, reduce environmental impacts and to educate students," Kaufmann said.

The new grab-n-go serves about 1,500 people a day, according to Kaufmann. Meals cost about $5 in Campus Cash for students not in the residence hall. "Phase two will begin fall 2006, and it will be more open for the entire CU community since they will take cash at the register," Kaufmann said. "We're really excited to take the initiative to serve organic and natural food, and the students have been responding great."

The Environmental Center focuses on sustainable food education. Organic foods that are purchased locally and foods grown and produced to reduce pollution and the harmful use of chemicals are considered sustainable. These are the kinds of foods served at Piazanos.

Kaufmann calls the change "noble" and hopes to have organic and natural foods available in all the dining halls someday.

"Organic always costs more, but it's worth it. We're happy this is happening," Kaufmann said. "Schools in California are doing well. Colorado being landlocked Š dinning services is working real hard." Piazanos is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday. The menu includes various pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, wraps and salads as well as vegan options like the Pizza Palermo and Pasta Torino. Sides include apple sauce, Boulder Chips and fresh fruit with drinks like Izze and Hansen's Sodas. A meal includes one entrée, one side and one drink. Nicky Bitting, a freshman art history major, makes a nightly trip from her residence hall, Libby, to Cheyenne Arapahoe for her dinner. "I like all the organic food compared to the other options on campus. Libby is closer to me, but I'd come here," Bitting said. "I think it's mostly a success." Nick Neujahr, a sophomore psychology major, lives in Cheyenne Arapahoe and is a regular diner at Piazanos. "I think it's nice to have variety for the health conscious. It's really popular" Neujahr said. "When it opens at 11 a.m., there is like a seven-minute line."