Some students claim that Sodexo, OCU’s food services provider, does not accommodate their dietary needs, especially in the caf.
Sodexo staff “works diligently to address students’ specific needs, especially those with food allergies, Celiac disease, or special diet needs,” according to their website with information about the OCU caf.
Mandy Sigale, music freshman, said this description is inaccurate because, in her experience,Willie Butler, weekend campus cook, is the only staff member who caters to her dietary needs.
“I keep Kosher, which the caf makes almost impossible because everything mingles, and most of the dishes have dairy and meat together or some kind of pork or shellfish,” Sigale said.
“I ended up eating a lot of veggie burgers for the first couple months of school, and, instead of accommodating my eating restrictions, they moved me to Cokes.”
Cokesbury Court Apartments are the only on-campus living spaces that include a kitchen, so it’s also the only on-campus housing option that does not require a full meal plan.
Adrienne Pierce, acting junior, also presented requests for the caf, though her dietary restrictions are by choice.
She lives in Methodist Hall with a full meal plan, but said she buys a lot of her own food.
“I choose to be keto, meaning I cut out almost all carbs and sugar, training my body to turn fats into ketones for energy,” Pierce said.
“The caf has a lot of proteins, but there aren’t many fats like avocados and nuts. They do a good job of labeling the main dishes, but I need labels on things like butter so I know if it’s real or whipped or margarine.”
Not all students have an issue with the way Sodexo handles special diets.
Sierra Paul, theater education freshman, said she is gluten intolerant but can always find something to eat.
“I love the exhibition station because they have rice a lot,” Paul said.
“Generally, they could make small changes, like offering more corn tortillas and making sure they don’t run out of gluten-free bread, but the caf does pretty well. My intolerance is pretty mild compared to some, though.”
Nirali Mickow, director of food service operations, was unavailable for comment. Sodexo officials refused to comment on record.
Beth Woodall, vocal performance junior, said Sodexo seems to be taking students’ requests into consideration and making good adjustments.
“It’s certainly not perfect, but our school’s caf is by far not the worst,” Woodall said.
If a student finds it difficult to eat in the caf because they choose not to eat certain foods, then they should probably just move to Cokesbury, Woodall said.
Sodexo’s website encourages students to meet with employees one-on-one to discuss any dietary needs.
Students also can fill out a feedback form to request changes at ocudining.sodexomyway.com/people/feedback.html.