Southern Vermont College Students Host Bennington Families for Dinner Project

February 17, 2011

Southern Vermont College (SVC) announced today the launch of a new initiative, the Campus Community Dinner Series (CCDS) – a project that provides a unique opportunity for students and local families to learn about and experience the value of preparing and eating nutritional dinners and engaging in thoughtful conversation over food.
Four Bennington families and ten SVC students have been invited to participate when the series launches with a kick-off dinner on Wednesday, Feb. 23, in Greenberg Atrium of Hunter Hall on campus. The project will run for three months with March and April dinners taking place in the campus dining hall.

“We’re excited about the Campus Community Dinner Series as it provides an added way for our students to connect with the Bennington community,” said SVC President Karen Gross. “It is our hope that this initiative can be replicated on other campuses across the country.”

According to numerous research studies, sitting down to a family meal is good for the spirit, the brain and the health of all the family members. In an effort to share with the campus and local community some of the many benefits of family dinners, SVC has partnered with The Family Dinner Project (FDP), a start-up grassroots movement dedicated to food, fun and conversation about things that matter. The FDP project team is made up of individuals from a variety of professional backgrounds who are affiliated with the GoodWork™ Project at Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital and The Public Conversations Project.

The framework of FDP will be used at SVC, with the added component of student involvement. Participants will be introduced to new ways to enjoy family mealtime and learn about college life as they dine on the SVC campus and interact with the college community. “We’re delighted with SVC’s initiative, with students and local residents engaging in thoughtful conversation over nutritional dinners,” said Shelly London, who began the project as a fellow in Harvard University’s Advanced Leadership Initiative. “Dinners are a great way to bring people together. Families and communities of all kinds can do what SVC is doing. ”

Sodexo Inc., a leading integrated food and facilities management services company, is sponsoring the Campus Community Dinner Series as part of its commitment to enhancing the learning environment and providing students and staff with a nurturing campus experience.  Learn more about Sodexo and the role they play on school campuses at

For more information on the Campus Community Dinner Series, visit

About Southern Vermont College
Founded in 1926, Southern Vermont College offers a career-enhancing, liberal arts education with 21 academic degree programs for more than 500 students. SVC recognizes the importance of educating students for the workplace of the twenty-first century and for lives as successful leaders in their communities. SVC's intercollegiate athletic teams are part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III and the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC). The College is accredited by New England Association of Schools and Colleges and has been designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Community-Engagement Classification institution.

About The Family Dinner Project
The Family Dinner Project is a start-up grassroots movement of food, fun and conversation about things that matter. Over the past 15 years, research has shown what parents have known for a long time: sharing a fun family meal is good for the spirit, brain and health of all family members. Recent studies link regular family meals with the kinds of behaviors that parents want for their children: higher grade-point averages, resilience and self-esteem. Now, through this movement, families will come together to share their experiences and insights to help each other realize the benefits of family dinners. For more information about The Family Dinner Project, please visit the Web site:

About Sodexo, Inc.
Sodexo, Inc. ( is a leading integrated food and facilities management services company in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, with $7.3 billion (USD) in annual revenue and 120,000 employees. Sodexo, Inc., serves more than ten million customers daily in corporations, healthcare, long-term care and retirement centers, schools, college campuses, government and remote sites. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., is a member of Sodexo Group, and funds the Sodexo Foundation (, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $9.2 million in grants to fight hunger in America.