The University of Maryland hosted the Presidential Youth Inaugural conference over the three-day holiday weekend leading up to Inauguration Day on January 20. The responsibility for feeding the more than 15,000 junior high and high school students and accompanying adults fell to UM’s dining services. It was a daunting task, given that the numbers for the 2009 conference were about five times greater than usual, because of the concurrent opportunity to be in Washington to witness Barack Obama’s historic inauguration. The department’s solution was to serve a combination of more than 23,000 bagged lunches and 14,000 hot served dinners.
The menu for day one included turkey and cheese sandwiches, fruit, chips, cookie and bottled water, while the second day featured chicken fajita wraps, fruit, pretzels, brownie and bottled water. Vegetarian and gluten-free lunches were also available.
Lunches were assembled the evening before distribution in three different refrigerated prep kitchens and transported to a central warehouse for overnight storage. Before dawn on the day of service, the lunches and pallets of bottled water were trucked to seven staging areas in the campus' main parking lot. Each staging area was set-up before the first buses arrived on campus.
With more than 320 buses rolling in each day, there was little space to maneuver or re-stock. While students enjoyed the words of Keynote speaker, Colin Powell and many other distinguished guests, buses lined up in formation, stopping at the staging areas to collect lunches for students to enjoy while en route to other inaugural events in the DC area.
Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference Held every four years in January following the presidential election, the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference provides inaugural scholars with a unique experience as they take part in and share firsthand in the excitement and ceremony of the inauguration of the President and Vice President of the United States.