Updates to Online Approvals in the MySlice Travel and Expense Center

Beginning this week, the University will migrate travel and expense approvals online through the travel and expense portal on MySlice. Paper-based approvals will be entirely phased out by the end of fiscal year 2024, along with paper-based submittal of expense reimbursement reports.

The Comptroller’s Office began the roll out of the online travel and expense portal during calendar year 2022, following campuswide training efforts. The transition to a fully online approval system is the next step in the office’s progression away from manual paper-based processes.

The Comptroller’s Office asks that departments with unique needs reach out directly to discuss accommodations, if needed.

Mark Your Calendars for National Carrot Cake Day

Carrot cake lovers rejoice! Saturday, Feb. 3, is National Carrot Cake Day.

For those who have attended events at the University, you may have tried one of the Syracuse University Bakery’s specialties, their delicious carrot cake, which is loved by many and famous at the University.

How popular is it? In the past year the Bakery has made 200 of the 9-inch round versions of the cake, their most popular, and this doesn’t include their other various sizes, including a sheet cake and cupcakes.

Read the full story at Syracuse University News.

Celebrate the Year of the Dragon With Lunar New Year Events on Campus

While many people here in the U.S. celebrated the start of a new year when the Gregorian calendar flipped from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1, as many as 2 billion people from Asian cultures around the globe joyfully observe the Lunar New Year—sometimes also known as Chinese New Year or the Spring Festival.

On Feb. 10, we will bid farewell to the Year of the Rabbit and usher in the Year of the Dragon, which according to the Chinese Zodiac represents nobility, confidence and strength. Lunar New Year celebrations last up to 16 days and can include such various customs as gathering with family, preparing traditional foods, artistic performances and the gifting of red envelopes to pass on good fortune and blessings to the younger generations.

Read the full story at Syracuse University News.

Minnowbrook Conference Center Welcomes General Manager Melissa Vaughn

Vaughn Begins Tenure, University Announces Partnership with Metz Culinary Management and Environmental Services

Syracuse University’s Minnowbrook Conference Center is happy to announce Melissa Vaughn as its new General Manager. Melissa joined the Minnowbrook team in January, and is looking forward to welcoming the Syracuse University community (and beyond!) back to Minnowbrook.

Melissa brings over 20 years of experience in the hospitality and food service industry, most recently as the food and beverage manager at The Lodge at Schroon Lake. Previously, she held leadership positions at SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry and Adirondack Brewery in Lake George, NY. Melissa has been an Adirondack Park resident for nearly 30 years. Her combination of experience and local knowledge made Melissa an ideal fit for Minnowbrook and Syracuse University.

This change in leadership accompanies Minnowbrook’s partnership with Metz Culinary Management and Environmental Services which aims to bring a best-in-class culinary and hospitality experience to Minnowbrook guests, the local Adirondack community, and the University community.

Already, Metz has provided Minnowbrook staff with innovative culinary training and has helped to make on-site cleaning products more environmentally friendly. On the employment side, Metz has a wide talent network with the power to recruit in such a remote and low-populated area.

Metz is “a family-driven company that delivers restaurant-inspired hospitality to everyone they serve.” With partners in healthcare, education, and corporate business, Metz has the experience to bring a new level of improvement and innovation to Minnowbrook.

In the months ahead, the Minnowbrook reservation system will be updated, and the booking process will be streamlined. Melissa and the entire team look forward to introducing additional innovations to improve the experience for Minnowbrook’s patrons and guests.

Internal Revenue Service Announces Standard Mileage Rate for 2024

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the optional standard mileage rate for 2024. University employees may use this rate to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business purposes.

Effective Jan. 1, 2024, the standard mileage rate is set at 67 cents per mile for business miles driven (up 1.5 cents from the 2023 rate of .655 cents per mile).

The rates apply to electric and hybrid-electric vehicles, as well as gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles.

Employees with questions can reach out to the Comptroller’s Office at 315.443.3765.

Meet Executive Chef Richard Leonardo

Auxiliary Services welcomes Richard “Rick” Leonardo as Executive Chef for Syracuse University Campus Dining. Leonardo’s culinary path began in his teenage years, when he worked at his family’s Central New York restaurant. He received his culinary degree from The French Culinary Institute in New York City, then honed his skills working with the Daniel Boulud Restaurant Group. He returned to Central New York to work as an executive pastry chef, then found his passion in collegiate dining with American Dining Creations, where he has spent the last 10 years developing menus for 29 colleges and universities.

Read on to learn more about his goals and initiatives:

What inspired you to become a chef?

Leonardo: My father was a chef and owned a family business, so I grew up learning the trade. When I wasn’t in school or playing sports, I was working in the business. It just kind of stuck with me.

Are you excited to be part of the Syracuse University team?

Leonardo: My wife and I grew up under the shadow of the Dome, loving Syracuse sports and everything that Central New York has to offer. We both have a lot of roots in Syracuse, so I am happy to be able to raise my family here.

What goals have you set for the dining program at Syracuse University?

Leonardo: I want to elevate the food on campus, especially in the dining centers. I want students to come in to eat, not just because they have to, but because we offer the food they are looking to eat.

How will you reach the goals you’ve set for the dining program?

Leonardo: My team and I will do a lot of market research to get a better idea of what is currently trending in the food industry. I’ll work with our purchasing agents, cooks, dining center managers, and in-house nutritionist to find ways to bring these foods to our dining centers.

Most importantly, we plan to really listen to students’ ideas for new menu items. I plan on being a regular presence in the dining centers, so students recognize me and hopefully feel comfortable talking to me about their dining experiences.

Students can also look for more tasting events where we will share new foods. We’ll ask for feedback on what works and what doesn’t. We started doing this in the fall semester, and it was very helpful.

This January, we are holding hands-on trainings with the dining staff on seasoning, different techniques and cooking methods, and food display. I’m also forming weekly cooks’ meetings where we will dive deeper into methods and recipe creation for authentic foods based on student requests.

Is there something that students can look for right away?

Leonardo: We have added more fresh vegetables into the daily menu. As we continue to rewrite recipes, I would ask students to look for new, modern flavors and foods with enhanced seasoning. To add a bit of fun to the regular menu, we are planning weekly pop-up events in our dining centers. These pop-ups will feature unique concepts and will be in a different dining center every day, Monday through Friday. If you enjoy a particular pop-up, you can follow it around to the different dining centers. Also, we will provide a wide variety of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.

What about long-term goals?

Leonardo: I would like to have more student-facing opportunities, such as food samplings and possibly a “Chef Table” where I can teach students how to make their own dishes. The possibilities are out there, and I am excited to lead the way. As I continue working with students to get a better understanding of their needs, I will be able to fine-tune what these student-facing opportunities will look like.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Leonardo: I truly enjoy my family time. In my previous job, I was traveling constantly and felt like I was missing seeing my children grow up. I jumped at the chance to continue working in collegiate dining, stay in Central New York, and have more opportunities to spend time with my family.

Parking and Traffic Information for 2023 School Day at the JMA Wireless Dome

On Thursday, Dec. 21, the women’s basketball team will host a school day at the JMA Wireless Dome. Approximately 60 schools from around the Central New York area have been invited to attend the Orange’s game against St. Francis University.

We are expecting 200 school buses on campus, with students being dropped off on College Place and the west side of Campus. Faculty and staff parking in the west campus lots may use the Irving Avenue Garage on Thursday to allow for space to park buses.

Read the full story at Syracuse University News.

Pages Café Will Pilot an Evening Meal-Swipe Equivalency Program Beginning Nov. 27

During the busy finals preparation period, students studying in Bird Library later in the evening will have new food options to select from at Pages Café. From Monday through Thursday through the end of the semester, Pages will expand its operating hours to remain open until 9 p.m. In addition, from 4 to 9 p.m., the café will accept meal swipes as payment for prepackaged dinner meals.

As at Goldstein Food Hall, students with unlimited meal plans can utilize one swipe per the dinner meal period to purchase their food. Students with block plans will use one swipe of their plan to pay for the meal, which features handcrafted grab-and-go salads, sandwiches and entrees.

Read the full story at Syracuse University News.

Guide to Campus Transportation, Dining and More Over Thanksgiving Break

For students remaining in Syracuse over Thanksgiving break (Nov. 18-26), we’ve compiled relevant information from campus partners about the hours of operation for certain student services on campus. Read on to learn more, and while you’re here, check out our companion guide of local food options and activities available across the larger Central New York community.

Read the full story at Syracuse University News.