New food for your plate

Tracy Warner

The residence hall dining centers are in the process of changing their food and technology. Sodexho Campus Services are adding a new Windows-based computer system at the check out lines, and they have also set up suggestion areas in the different dining centers since Aug. 31 asking students what menu changes they would like to see. “For the most part I’m happy with the dining services,” said Katie Schaefer, junior business management major. “(The South Quad dining center) has the best omelets, and friends come from other buildings to eat here. Also, the new computer program makes the lines go faster.”

Schaefer did point out that that she sees areas the dining services could improve improve upon.

“It’s hard to get good vegetables and they serve a lot of pastas,” said Schaefer. “The good-for-you items are high-priced, while the not-so-good-for-you items are low-priced. That’s not the most cost effective thing to do,” she added.

Eva Galbraith, marketing manager for Sodexho, hopes that Western students will participate in an online survey that they are conducting and leave comments at the suggestion areas, so that they can see how the students perceive the dining centers. The management team will take the suggestions and begin an extensive menu re-write.

“We are finding that today’s student is very nutrition conscious with a growing vegetarian and vegan population,” Galbraith said. “Our goals are to provide variety, not only in the types of foods that we carry but also a variety of cost ranges. During the last school year we added Fresh Market to the South Quad dining center. This platform offers students organic and sustainable agriculture selections.

“We also carry fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, yogurts, smoothies and even a line of gelato,” Galbraith said.

Michael Mercado, junior computer science major, said he noticed a change in the dining services at Thompson Hall.

“Lately the service has been slow; sometimes we have to wait and the food gets cold,” Mercado said. “It would be nice if the chicken breasts were cheaper. They are over $2, and if people are on a high-protein diet, it’s a pain.”

Sodexho is aware that there have been unforeseen glitches in the new computer systems and appreciate the patience of the students as they continually work to fix the issues.

“These problems have been addressed for the most part, and we are working continuously to resolve all of the issues as quickly as possible,” Galbraith said.

“At the beginning of every school year we deal with extremely large numbers of students attempting to dine at the same time.

“The larger dinner centers often feed upwards of 2,000 per dinner meal period, and it takes students a couple of weeks to settle into a routine that spreads them out over the three-hour period versus everyone arriving at the same time.”

Variety is what draws Christina Struck, junior hotel restaurant management major, to the dining services at Corbin Hall.

“It’s a lot smaller dining center than the others, and it’s not open on the weekends which is an inconvenience,” Struck said. “But even though they are smaller, they offer more variety. They are also the only one that has the Asian Creations.”

While food and cost are the most common things students take issue with, Struck said she noticed something about the dining services at Corbin that also matters to her.

“The people who work here are a lot nicer than the people who work at the other dining centers,” Struck said.

Dan Miller, sophomore accounting major, said he is satisfied with the dining services at Lincoln and Washington halls.

“They do a good job, and the food is pretty good,” Miller said.

According to Galbraith, this semester the dining services are offering World’s Fare Selections for a limited time. Also in September, a “Be Balanced” promotion will give students an opportunity to win prizes.

On Sept. 20 at West Dining and on Sept. 26 at South Quad and North Quad, Sodexho will celebrate Hispanic Heritage with a Hispanic Special. Students will be able to experience the flavor of traditional Hispanic dishes. North Quad will also offer a special Salsa Dance presentation.

The upcoming Premium promotion, which Galbraith says is a favorite of the students, will allow them to choose from entrees like lobster, T-bone steak, Jamaican Chicken, Coconut Shrimp and Bourbon Steak.