With flu season quickly approaching, the possibility of students finding themselves bedridden and unable to access food at the dining halls has increased. USC Hospitality’s B.R.A.T. food delivery program aims to help ill students recover while preventing contagion by delivering simple foods straight to their doors.
Following the norovirus outbreak last fall in several university residence halls, which led to temporary closure of EVK dining hall, the B.R.A.T. service will reduce the risk of having sick individuals in dining areas.
Bananas, rice, applesauce and toast are commonly known as “sick foods,” due to the fact that they are bland and easily digestible. USC Hospitality delivers these items, along with a bottle of water, to ill, bedridden students.
According to Lindsey Pine, a registered dietician for USC Hospitality, the B.R.A.T. meals have existed on campus for years.
“If students have a contagious illness, it is advised that they order a B.R.A.T. meal and do not enter the dining halls and risk infecting other students,” Pine said in an e-mail to the Daily Trojan. She estimates that only 30 students use the service each semester, although more than 3,000 first-year students live in residential colleges, not accounting for sophomores and other students residing in University housing.
Pine said the B.R.A.T. diet is nationally known and used by individuals, usually for those with digestive problems who are showing symptoms of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
B.R.A.T. meals are available to students in all residence halls on campus every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Meals are provided by EVK, Parkside Restaurant and the USC Village Dining Hall.
To utilize the service, a student sends an email containing his or her name, USC ID number, telephone number, building and room number and best delivery time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior managers intercept the message and decide which dining hall will provide the meal, based on its proximity to the specified residence hall. Dining hall personnel deliver the meal to customer service personnel in the residence hall who are responsible for delivering it to the student.
“Every effort is made to ensure the student receives the meal within one hour of the requested time,” Pine said.
Erik Russell, director of Residential Dining, said he thinks the program is something of which students should be aware.
“This is an opportunity to get the nutrients that you need and give you the food that you need that’s going to help heal your digestive tract and get you back to normal,” he said.
Although B.R.A.T. meal requests are available year round, Russell said that there is typically a spike in requests during flu season toward the end of the fall semester.
“This program is very important in preventing the spread of illness, especially during cold and flu seasons,” Pine said.