An interesting perspective

Estrella Lopez ’07, a member of last year’s dining review committee that was responsible for choosing Bon Appetit, responds to a snarky comment on the ACB:

So, I stand by our decision to choose BA, and quite frankly (and I absolutely LOVE Wesleyan) the biggest thing that pisses me off about the school is that its is a huge community of pissers and moaners who don’t do shit about anything but love to complain. It should really be recognized as the official passtime of Wesleyan students.

The two other students on the committee and I did the best that we could to solicit the input of the student body. As often happens, few people bothered to reply to our emails etc, but for those who did we took what they said into account in order to inform our decision. We conducted a survey (yes, imperfect, but our best realistic option) The results of which can be found on the wsa voting website in the Campus-Wide survey. The number one concern was for better quality food.

We kept this in mind while we visited various other campuses to taste the food, then we read all their dining proposals and when we interviewed the individual companies that were bidding for the job. Hands-down BA was the company that came the losest to meeting our needs.

Now, I am not there any more so I cannot speak to how they are delivering on their promises (though I would say that it is at best premature to judge them at this point, they’re what, 2 weeks into the operation?) but I have no problem at all in saying that given all the information that we had available to us we undoubtedly made the best possible choice. My guess is that no matter who we had chosen a) they would have trouble adjusting to the new space b) people would be complaining.

Its amazing to me how quickly you seem to have forgotten how violently Aramark was hated, how (until news spread that it would not be open this year) viscerally MoCon was reviled, and the unending stream of complaints about the inadequacies and deficiencies of Davenport as a Campus Center.

Maybe you should hold the sarcasm and if you think that with your infinite wisdom and prophetic abilities you could do things better, step up.

28 thoughts on “An interesting perspective

  1. Noa

    Are people seriously indignant about Estrella’s post?This time I really don’t have time to write a full response but…I largely agree with you.Anon 1, I feel you. I actually had a really emotional moment the last time I bought lunch at campus center, and had to use points, and it came out to 13.00 or something ridiculous like that, and I wanted to go put back my soup and orange juice but there was a line behind me and it was really uncomfortable and I ended up just going through.And it brought up a lot. But I was also very aware that this is me, in college, in the United States, where they ARE giving me enough to eat, and it’s good food when it comes down to it, and everything, and I’m feeling this now, and that’s not even approaching the surface of the weighted scales of the unequal distribution of wealth and respect in the world. They ARE giving us plenty to eat – I’m not planning to go beyond my allotted points, and I’m not expecting to go hungry… the ridiculous price figures are frustrating but for me personally, coming from a less wealthy background than a lot of kids here makes me more inclined to ask, “what are you bitching about?” than it does to make me feel dissatisfied with my food situation.(I can’t claim to know your experience. For one, I am not a first generation college student. We’re not the same person. But this is how I relate to what you’re saying.)love.

  2. Noa

    Are people seriously indignant about Estrella’s post?

    This time I really don’t have time to write a full response but…

    I largely agree with you.

    Anon 1, I feel you. I actually had a really emotional moment the last time I bought lunch at campus center, and had to use points, and it came out to 13.00 or something ridiculous like that, and I wanted to go put back my soup and orange juice but there was a line behind me and it was really uncomfortable and I ended up just going through.

    And it brought up a lot. But I was also very aware that this is me, in college, in the United States, where they ARE giving me enough to eat, and it’s good food when it comes down to it, and everything, and I’m feeling this now, and that’s not even approaching the surface of the weighted scales of the unequal distribution of wealth and respect in the world. They ARE giving us plenty to eat – I’m not planning to go beyond my allotted points, and I’m not expecting to go hungry… the ridiculous price figures are frustrating but for me personally, coming from a less wealthy background than a lot of kids here makes me more inclined to ask, “what are you bitching about?” than it does to make me feel dissatisfied with my food situation.

    (I can’t claim to know your experience. For one, I am not a first generation college student. We’re not the same person. But this is how I relate to what you’re saying.)

    love.

  3. Anonymous

    Nobody’s holding the choosing committee responsible. A lot of people were excited by this whole thing on paper but Bon Appetit failed to live up to what we hoped. Not to mention as far as I know the committee had nothing to do with the design of the campus center (which people WERE bitching about before this year)So let us bitch estrella, because we’re not bitching at you or your decisions.

  4. Anonymous

    Nobody’s holding the choosing committee responsible. A lot of people were excited by this whole thing on paper but Bon Appetit failed to live up to what we hoped. Not to mention as far as I know the committee had nothing to do with the design of the campus center (which people WERE bitching about before this year)

    So let us bitch estrella, because we’re not bitching at you or your decisions.

  5. Anonymous

    What bothers me is that the Argus (and the blog, to some degree) are making Delmar Crim out to be the dick behind all this. He’s just the head guy on campus, and I get the feeling that a lot of the unpopular actions happen far above his level. I’ve met him, and he is actually very passionate about food and sustainability. Google search his name – he seems to be a pretty well-liked guy in the industry. He is the one that is actually talking to us, so keep sending him your questions and concerns, and quit making him out to be such an asshole!

  6. Anonymous

    What bothers me is that the Argus (and the blog, to some degree) are making Delmar Crim out to be the dick behind all this. He’s just the head guy on campus, and I get the feeling that a lot of the unpopular actions happen far above his level. I’ve met him, and he is actually very passionate about food and sustainability. Google search his name – he seems to be a pretty well-liked guy in the industry. He is the one that is actually talking to us, so keep sending him your questions and concerns, and quit making him out to be such an asshole!

  7. Anonymous

    meesh: because they know the campus better than other students (relatively speaking)… it’s not like the seniors were like: “hey let’s see what shitty provider we can screw over the students still at wes!”would you rather have freshmen on the committee?

  8. Anonymous

    meesh: because they know the campus better than other students (relatively speaking)… it’s not like the seniors were like: “hey let’s see what shitty provider we can screw over the students still at wes!”
    would you rather have freshmen on the committee?

  9. Mad Joy

    Sorry, Estrella, for putting this up on Wesleying without asking you first – I know it’s a very public venue.My personal opinion – I do think that people seemed pretty happy with Bon Appetit as a choice last year. I always was rooting to stick with Aramark, because I found their food pretty good, and the workers’ union was already very satisfied with their relationship with Aramark. But BA was certainly my second choice.The other thing is that I really don’t think most of the problems occurring are BA’s fault. Overcrowding and lack of options are largely related just to the layout of the campus center, which seems more focused on prettiness than practicality. Clearly there need to be some changes to make things more efficient and more affordable, but just getting angry isn’t the way to fix it.Then again, I’m abroad this semester, so I haven’t seen BA in action, either. But I agree with Estrella that their promises were pretty good, and if they’re retracting some of their former promises (i.e. keeping the current union contract) then that’s a serious problem. So I think the most effective strategy is to stop blaming BA and any individual, but instead to suggest specific changes that can be implemented right away or as a long-term strategy to the proper authorities. (i.e. better labeling of vegan/vegetarian food, more such veggie options, late night at summerfields, etc.)

  10. Mad Joy

    Sorry, Estrella, for putting this up on Wesleying without asking you first – I know it’s a very public venue.

    My personal opinion – I do think that people seemed pretty happy with Bon Appetit as a choice last year. I always was rooting to stick with Aramark, because I found their food pretty good, and the workers’ union was already very satisfied with their relationship with Aramark. But BA was certainly my second choice.

    The other thing is that I really don’t think most of the problems occurring are BA’s fault. Overcrowding and lack of options are largely related just to the layout of the campus center, which seems more focused on prettiness than practicality. Clearly there need to be some changes to make things more efficient and more affordable, but just getting angry isn’t the way to fix it.

    Then again, I’m abroad this semester, so I haven’t seen BA in action, either. But I agree with Estrella that their promises were pretty good, and if they’re retracting some of their former promises (i.e. keeping the current union contract) then that’s a serious problem. So I think the most effective strategy is to stop blaming BA and any individual, but instead to suggest specific changes that can be implemented right away or as a long-term strategy to the proper authorities. (i.e. better labeling of vegan/vegetarian food, more such veggie options, late night at summerfields, etc.)

  11. Anonymous

    the whole issue of hours and benefits being cut for the workers, is obviously a huge dilemma that is being debated at this point in time–which frankly with union’s discontent and the constant bickering of the student body, BA is seriously troubled for not responding to that. or will they? with all the bureaucratic shit that goes on, it’s honestly no surpise that a two week time frame for a new food provider isn’t in real time sufficient for them to work this out. so wait it out a little, keep moaning an pissing constructively to someone who can do something…i don’t exactly see why there is this sudden urge to save mocon. frankly, usdan has been a great addition to the campus (despite it’s far walk from my current residence). the long lines have dwindled, the food is better than what i had during wesfest, and the options are not that far off.so if/when the issues regarding benefits are resolved, i don’t see why everyone feels inclinded to continually fall in to the cycle of pissing and moaning. storm roth’s office. chalk. fall in to wesleyan cliche while there is still time. do something aside from bickering on a blog or a forum–if you’re that fucking passionate. protest as you do best.

  12. Anonymous

    the whole issue of hours and benefits being cut for the workers, is obviously a huge dilemma that is being debated at this point in time–which frankly with union’s discontent and the constant bickering of the student body, BA is seriously troubled for not responding to that. or will they? with all the bureaucratic shit that goes on, it’s honestly no surpise that a two week time frame for a new food provider isn’t in real time sufficient for them to work this out. so wait it out a little, keep moaning an pissing constructively to someone who can do something…

    i don’t exactly see why there is this sudden urge to save mocon. frankly, usdan has been a great addition to the campus (despite it’s far walk from my current residence). the long lines have dwindled, the food is better than what i had during wesfest, and the options are not that far off.

    so if/when the issues regarding benefits are resolved, i don’t see why everyone feels inclinded to continually fall in to the cycle of pissing and moaning.

    storm roth’s office. chalk. fall in to wesleyan cliche while there is still time. do something aside from bickering on a blog or a forum–if you’re that fucking passionate. protest as you do best.

  13. Estrella

    as anon #4 so eloquently pointed out, no, I am not there any longer, so I can’t even attempt to respond to many of the questions/concerns being raised, but for those that I can, I’ll give it a shot.anon #1, I can only speak for myself, but I was also a student who didn’t (by any means) have an unending stream of cash, so cost was an important consideration for us, and if their prices are significantly higher than what they promised that needs to be addressed.anon # 3, when food services providers start at a new school or when a new space is opened, there are inevitably a series of things that need to be worked out that were impossible to predict beforehand. I have no idea if BA is making an honest attempt to respond to concerns being expressed, but given the nature of what we’re talking about here, yes, two weeks is premature. When I suggested that if you think you could do things better you should do so I wasn’t referring to this specifically, yes, they have the contract, they’re not going anywhere for a while. I was referring more generally to getting involved. Students often complain that they aren’t consulted in things, but the reality is that as much as we like to paint administrators as working in complete secrecy they often seek out input and get none (ie, last year they had a really hard time getting students to join the advisory committee for the new science building, or when the trustees host their meet-and-greets a maximum of 20 people show up). You’re right that I’m not there and don’t have to live with the consequences but of all the people involved in the process there are only 2 of us no longer at the school. The rest of the people involved (students, administrators, etc) are still there and deal with BA alot either directly or in arranging catering etc.anon #4 no, I don’t think I’m at a higher level of thinking, that’s hardly it, I just know more about what went into the process because I was involved in it and I sought to offer some explanation and defense of what happened. I also wasn’t offering “input” as I was offering information.I’m not saying that BA is doing a great job, I’m not there, I have no clue. For all I know they’re not living up to their promises, they’re being unresponsive and engaging in shady hiring practices. I don’t know any of this, and if in fact this is true they should be held accountable. (I have the January 26 all-campus email that was sent out with all the promises they made if anyone would like a copy, its too long to paste into here) All that I’m saying is that the people who served on that committee worked hard and put in a lot of time and effort to getting it right and its rather obnoxious to dismiss everything they did. I think people are less involved than they could be at Wes because no matter how much they put into something few people are going to be grateful and many will be quick to criticize.

  14. Estrella

    as anon #4 so eloquently pointed out, no, I am not there any longer, so I can’t even attempt to respond to many of the questions/concerns being raised, but for those that I can, I’ll give it a shot.

    anon #1, I can only speak for myself, but I was also a student who didn’t (by any means) have an unending stream of cash, so cost was an important consideration for us, and if their prices are significantly higher than what they promised that needs to be addressed.

    anon # 3, when food services providers start at a new school or when a new space is opened, there are inevitably a series of things that need to be worked out that were impossible to predict beforehand. I have no idea if BA is making an honest attempt to respond to concerns being expressed, but given the nature of what we’re talking about here, yes, two weeks is premature. When I suggested that if you think you could do things better you should do so I wasn’t referring to this specifically, yes, they have the contract, they’re not going anywhere for a while. I was referring more generally to getting involved. Students often complain that they aren’t consulted in things, but the reality is that as much as we like to paint administrators as working in complete secrecy they often seek out input and get none (ie, last year they had a really hard time getting students to join the advisory committee for the new science building, or when the trustees host their meet-and-greets a maximum of 20 people show up). You’re right that I’m not there and don’t have to live with the consequences but of all the people involved in the process there are only 2 of us no longer at the school. The rest of the people involved (students, administrators, etc) are still there and deal with BA alot either directly or in arranging catering etc.

    anon #4 no, I don’t think I’m at a higher level of thinking, that’s hardly it, I just know more about what went into the process because I was involved in it and I sought to offer some explanation and defense of what happened. I also wasn’t offering “input” as I was offering information.

    I’m not saying that BA is doing a great job, I’m not there, I have no clue. For all I know they’re not living up to their promises, they’re being unresponsive and engaging in shady hiring practices. I don’t know any of this, and if in fact this is true they should be held accountable. (I have the January 26 all-campus email that was sent out with all the promises they made if anyone would like a copy, its too long to paste into here) All that I’m saying is that the people who served on that committee worked hard and put in a lot of time and effort to getting it right and its rather obnoxious to dismiss everything they did. I think people are less involved than they could be at Wes because no matter how much they put into something few people are going to be grateful and many will be quick to criticize.

  15. Anonymous

    Another Wes grad that thinks they’re at a higher level of thinking than the rest of Wes. Notice that she’s bitching too.Estrella: Your input means nothing, you’re not even here

  16. Anonymous

    Another Wes grad that thinks they’re at a higher level of thinking than the rest of Wes. Notice that she’s bitching too.

    Estrella: Your input means nothing, you’re not even here

  17. Anonymous

    How is two weeks into the school year “premature” ? What other product or service gets a pass like that? We don’t even extend the same courtesy to the professors here at Wes. I’m sorry BA, but you had one chance to make a first impression and you dropped the ball. Your efforts to improve seem half-hearted at best – there are a host of changes you could have very quickly and easily made, but have not. And I’m sorry again, Estrella, but even if we do think we could do things better, we don’t have that option; they already won the contract. Justifications like “BA sucks slightly less ass than Aramark” are no consolation. Obviously you loved Wesleyan – even now, after graduating, you continue in the finest tradition of pissing and moaning. Like everyone else involved in the decision-making process, however, you don’t actually have to live with the consequences.

  18. Anonymous

    How is two weeks into the school year “premature” ? What other product or service gets a pass like that? We don’t even extend the same courtesy to the professors here at Wes. I’m sorry BA, but you had one chance to make a first impression and you dropped the ball. Your efforts to improve seem half-hearted at best – there are a host of changes you could have very quickly and easily made, but have not. And I’m sorry again, Estrella, but even if we do think we could do things better, we don’t have that option; they already won the contract. Justifications like “BA sucks slightly less ass than Aramark” are no consolation. Obviously you loved Wesleyan – even now, after graduating, you continue in the finest tradition of pissing and moaning. Like everyone else involved in the decision-making process, however, you don’t actually have to live with the consequences.

  19. Anonymous

    Personally, I find that post useless.Isn’t ANYONE else concerned about the rising costs?I can’t help but feel as though, as a low-income, first generation college student, my concerns are being consistently ignored. I’m not a politician, so I can’t make others understand how hard all of this actually is on a low-income student like myself. And frankly, I just don’t want to put myself out there as low-income. It’s a very private matter, but my (hopefully understandable) reluctance to adhere to such a label does not make it any less real or legitimate. Please… just remember that there are students like me at this school who, with book costs, travel expenses, tuition, sketchy financial aid, and a job that leaves hardly any time for schoolwork, are not sure how much more they can handle. Yes, even a seemingly-trivial matter like the cost of food makes a world of difference in my life.Excuse the cheesiness, but I’m not good at this whole writing things with words deal.

  20. Anonymous

    Personally, I find that post useless.

    Isn’t ANYONE else concerned about the rising costs?

    I can’t help but feel as though, as a low-income, first generation college student, my concerns are being consistently ignored. I’m not a politician, so I can’t make others understand how hard all of this actually is on a low-income student like myself. And frankly, I just don’t want to put myself out there as low-income. It’s a very private matter, but my (hopefully understandable) reluctance to adhere to such a label does not make it any less real or legitimate. Please… just remember that there are students like me at this school who, with book costs, travel expenses, tuition, sketchy financial aid, and a job that leaves hardly any time for schoolwork, are not sure how much more they can handle. Yes, even a seemingly-trivial matter like the cost of food makes a world of difference in my life.

    Excuse the cheesiness, but I’m not good at this whole writing things with words deal.

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