Dining services should do more to accommodate students’ diets and fulfill its promise to be vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.
When prospective students tour the campus, they’re told how accommodating the dining services are. It’s said that there is always a meat-free option for vegetarian students.
Though this is mostly true in the sense that there’s always salad and cheese pizza, the meat-free options don’t compare to the quality of the main entrees.
While meat-eating students have a new course every day, vegetarian students are stuck with just three or four different foods they have to recycle through the week.
It’s even worse for vegan students. Though the vegetarian/vegan section claims to be stocked during meals, it’s only occasionally stocked during lunch, leaving vegan students to eat only fruit and vegetables.
While most vegans and vegetarians choose their food based on a moral decision, some students can’t eat certain foods because of an intolerance, allergy or religious restriction. These students find it difficult to navigate the caf, knowing they’re not always sure of the food’s ingredients.
When students can’t find food in the caf, they often turn to Alvin’s, which also can be unreliable.
Students have come to expect broken ovens and espresso machines making them settle for whatever is available, even if that means an energy drink and ramen for the fourth night in a row.
Dining services has plenty of room for improvement, but it is impossible to satisfy everyone’s requests. Students also can help themselves by staying informed and giving feedback.
At the beginning of the academic year, Sodexo announced the BITE app, which lists daily menus for the caf and Alvin’s. It can help some students with dietary considerations plan their meals in advance.
Sodexo also sends out a campus dining survey to the campus community, asking for input on how to improve. By filling it out, students have an easy way to provide detailed requests and suggestions without even confronting anyone.
In the meantime, some students still have issues in getting their voices heard.
See Page 1 for more on dietary accommodations.
Going forward, students should keep themselves informed and continue to fight for their needs. Complaints to each other will not fix the problem, but more communication with Sodexo might.