Beef was for dinner on Tuesday, Jan. 29 for every on-campus student at K-State’s Derby, Van Zile and Kramer dining halls. To celebrate Kansas’s 158th birthday, the BCI partnered with K-State’s Department of Housing and Dining Services; Department of Animal Sciences and Industry and the department’s Collegiate Cattlemen and Meat Science Association; and the Kansas Beef Council, to bring burgers and other Kansas-sourced foods to plates across campus. The night fostered promotion of beef in college dining centers and discussion of beef-related perceptions.

Kansas-sourced beef burgers twice the size of the dining halls’ standard menu drew students from across campus residence halls to wait in 20-minute lines.

Students waited an average of 20 minutes to enjoy the double-sized burgers served at K-State’s Derby, Kramer and Van Zile dining halls on Kansas Day.

The event, spurred by the Beef Cattle Institute’s (BCI) Director of Value Chain Alliances Patti Dollarhide, collaborated with Dr. Kelly Whitehair, instructor with the college’s Department of Human Ecology, to raise students’ awareness of beef.

The menu featured beef burgers from K-State’s Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, buns from Flowers Baking Company in Lenexa, macaroni and cheese made with sorghum from Nu Life Market in Scott City, chili verde made with pork from the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, rolls made with flour from Grain Craft Mills in McPherson, and birthday cake and K-State’s own Call Hall ice cream.

Students attending the dining halls that evening were greeted with a large image of a cow projected on-screen, and members of the university’s Collegiate Cattlemen’s club and meat science program, who helped answer student questions.

Both Dollarhide and Dr. Whitehair agree the double-sized burgers were a huge hit, but Dr. Whitehair believes the students understanding the products were made in Kansas made an impact.

“Beef is important to sustaining our Kansas economy,” says Dollarhide. “I wanted to feature this healthy, delicious protein in conjunction with our talented K-State dining services team, which has a reputation for serving great food. It was important to have representatives from the Department of Animal Science’s Collegiate Cattlemen and the Meat Science Association available to  answer questions for those unfamiliar with modern agriculture. Telling the story of Kansas beef here in our dorms proved to be one more way we can be transparent about our industry and help people feel good about enjoying beef in their diets. The dining staff executed the meal perfectly, and the long burger lines proved there was no difficulty getting students to celebrate Kansas beef.”

Plans are in the works to hold the event again next year, as well as for more beef education events throughout the year.

Patti Dollarhide is a registered dietitian and the director of beef value chain alliances at Kansas State University’s Beef Cattle Institute. Learn more about her here

Listen to a clip from the Kansas Livestock Association here.