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Campus Addresses Food Concerns

Elliott Bishop, Contributing Writer

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The University of New Haven held a Food Committee meeting on Thursday where students could offer opinions, questions and feedback to Sodexo dining hall staff. USGA senator Mary Kate Kelly led the forum and was accompanied by Executive Director for Student Engagement Greg Overend, Student Ambassador “Dining” Dan Simpson, General Manager for Food Service Gordon Hayes, and Dining Services’ Director of Operations Linda Clark.

The first issue brought up by students in the audience was the new system of swiping ID’s in order to enter the Marketplace.

“I think the layout itself is nice with things being spread out, but I think that the fact that you have to swipe to able to sit down really causes an awkward environment,” said one student in the audience. “In prior years you were able to hang out with friends. If you wanted to do a little bit of school work while you were down there you could sit at a table with a group of your friends and hang out…so I feel like that is kind of inhibiting the ability of the students to hang out and have that environment and that interaction here in the hall.”

In order the combat this student’s concerns, Overend brought attention to the upstairs mezzanine in the Marketplace where students are able to sit and hang out without having to swipe in.  

Other concerns brought forward by students during the panel were the lack of vegan dessert options, a lack of variety of food served in the dining halls, and the arrival of new, smaller paper Pepsi cups at the soda machines.

“When they did the big donation to the hurricanes all Pepsi gave us were the 12 ounce cups because they sent the other ones down south,” said Clark, providing explanation.

When attention was brought to the on-campus restaurants WOW Café and Sandellas, student concerns became a little more pressing.

“I know from last year, and I know from this year, that people love to steal buzzers,” said another student in the audience. “I don’t know what they get from these buzzers. I don’t know why, but they have an addiction for stealing these buzzers.”

In order to confront this problem, the same student suggested instating a process where these food services would text students when their meals were prepared, thereby moving away from buzzers completely.

USGA senator Kelly brought another concern to the attention of the dining hall staffers when she revealed that several students had informed her that they had found hair in their food and had even sent her pictures proving their claims.

“Dan…showed me at least one of them,” said Clark. “We kind of deduced what we thought it was, but he was responding to the person individually so that he could get more information. I know from Dan’s standpoint that he’s having conversations with whoever that individual is. It’s being addressed. The staff wear hair nets, hats, things of that nature and in just normal, walking around day-to-day stuff that can certainly happen. Obviously that’s not what we want to have happen…but it’s food, we’re cooking real food.”

The forum concluded with all of the students’ serious concerns and feedback addressed. There will be another Food Committee meeting in the following weeks to address further concerns and include students who may have not been able to make it to this meeting.

 

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Campus Addresses Food Concerns