A plea for more from our food: The university needs to step it up

A live chicken in a sandwich, Jan. 29, 2023

Graphic courtesy of Charger Bulletin/Andrea Rojas.

A live chicken in a sandwich, Jan. 29, 2023

A common scenario for a University of New Haven student: you walk into the Marketplace. You are with your friends and ready to have dinner. You fill your plate with a standard meal: chicken and string beans or codfish and rice. You and your friends sit down at the table. You cut into the edge of the meat and smell something funny. The meat is severely undercooked and you have just lost your appetite.

This is the common UNH student experience. But why? If the average university student is paying around tens of thousands of dollars per semester just to attend this school, why is there such a failure to uphold basic food safety standards? The average unaffiliated student meme page like @unh_afterdark will show pictures of hair-infested food and complaints of food poisoning.

This, of course, is not to blame the service workers; most of them are wonderful. But even a sweet smile or sound advice from the Beach Grill cannot stop the symptoms of salmonella. No, the food issue at the university is a systematic one. Everyone reading this article already knows that. The students, the underpaid service staff and the saintly professors who pay $12 to eat the mediocre Sodexo food all complain about the obvious issue. I am not going to pretend that I am not preaching to the choir here.

The reason I wrote this article was not to beat a dead horse. That would be redundant. I am writing this article because I have a sliver of hope in change. Our former athletic director and current interim president, Sheanon Zenger, will officially take the highest position at the university next semester. He has known ambitions to take our school to D1. Zenger seems to care about the students and our school.

Perhaps, with his new administration, he will take our food quality from a grade D to an A. If not, then at least we have enough memes to get us through the winter.