Tag Archives: aramark

What do you want from a food service?

One of the reasons that I think I’m more disappointed with the delivery of B.A. is that I participated in the student focus group last year to help the school’s consultant figure out what students most wanted from a food service. Honestly, of the options made available, I agree that B.A. was the best hands down if only because of its commitment to relying on sustainable resources and local suppliers. But it also promised to make nutrition a huge priority. Many of the students in the focus group with me responded positively to the idea of healthier options since one of our biggest complaints about Aramark was the how much more difficult it was to procure, say, a vegetable or grilled chicken than it was getting french fries (And Aramark’s idea of vegetarian or vegan = healthy didn’t go over well, either. Seriously, fried tofu is great, but not the best thing you could be eating).

But again, many of our other “wants” in a food service went unmet. Like having at least one on-campus facility open at all hours to accomodate student schedules (my suggestion was a compromise between cost and health–a 24 hour cereal bar that offered a variety of milks, fruits and other add-ins that I’ve heard about operating at other schools, but that was an “ideal” case and I knew when I said it that it’d never fly). Or more consideration for student point budgets since 15 points a day only covered the cost of two meals at 8-9 points a pop, nevermind snacks, drinks or breakfast. I mean, I don’t think we were thinking that big. But honestly, in terms of hours of operation, I see almost no difference between B.A.’s and Aramark and I feel like that’s a let down. As for costs, I’ve no idea how they’re going to price things. But supplanting mocon-style lunches with a la carte almost universally means pricier, with a normal meal consisting of say a 6 point sandwich, 2 point drink, 4 point salad, etc. (If they run things like they ran Vegan, I know I’ll be out of points before November. Xue won’t make it until midterms. If that.)

Anyway, I’m curious as to what you guys think. What do you hope for B.A.? What did you hope for during the contract bidding? In your ideal college setting, what would the food service be like? What would be the best option for Wesleyan? Incoming freshmen and rising sophomores, what do you most hope for a food service given you’re (for better or worse) pretty bound to it?

Usdanistan Update

If you’re a frequent visitor to Wesleyan’s website (like we are) then you’ve noticed their subtle announcement of the new campus center’s existence. They’re excited:

Click here to see detailed project information and the latest CONSTRUCTION PHOTOS!” (emphasis theirs).

From the policies, you can see that in many ways the new campus center is actually less about students and more about offering prospective families a sanitized, pretty building to look at the moment they start their tour and surely no tour will end without a trip to the new Broad Street “Annex” filled with “Wesleyan gear.” The expressed ban of all banners or posters (a predominant feature of the campus center, to be sure) bolsters my claim:

Decorations, posters, banners, etc may not be attached to the walls, ceilings, glass or other surfaces of the Usdan University Center without the express written consent of the University Center staff (emphasis mine).

I’m honestly not trying to be cynical about this new building. I really want it to be awesome. It’s just after two years of promises of better food, more social space, etc made in the shadow of the noisy construction (which I was so privileged to live next to sophomore year), I guess I’m just underwhelmed with the delivery. You could honestly say I’m a bit displeased with the premature marketing of a campus center no student has been able to use yet as a “hub” of campus activity. It’s sort of like they’re forcing us to use it the way most convenient for them, hoping that we’ll go along with whatever the architect envisioned our social habits to be. Sadly, with Bon Appetit doing its damnedest to ignore almost all student suggestions in order to emulate Aramark’s failings with startling precision, I’m less–let’s say–optimistic about the new campus center than I once was.

By the way, if you’re as t’d off as we are about Bon Appetit, please, oh lord, please, by all means, use your free time to construct a beautifully written letter to this guy. Let him know about what “late night” actually means. Or how you feel about having no non-a-la-carte (aka expensive) options for lunch. Or basically anything. Maybe the food is knock-you-on-your-ass terrific. Maybe. But already they’re mirroring many of the problems the student body had with Aramark. Not off to a fine start, in my opinion.

Delmar Crim
Resident District Manager

Let us know what you say. CC it to use at Wesleying@gmail.