Seldom has a year gone by without The Gatepost editorializing about the Dining Commons.
Just last year, we called for Sodexo to establish a to-go box system students could use to bring food out of the cafeteria. In that same editorial, we suggested the corporation let students use meal swipes in place of cash at a number of eateries around campus, including Toasted, The Ram’s Den Grille and Sandella’s.
This year, we at The Gatepost are happy to see Sodexo implement one of our suggestions and hear out student concerns.
With its new R.A.M.S. on the RUN service, Sodexo is finally addressing one of the biggest issues students have when they can’t make it to the cafeteria in time for breakfast, lunch or dinner – not being able to use their meal swipes in place of cash at eateries on campus.
Now, they can walk down the hill to Sandella’s and grab a quick bite to eat using one of their swipes, not needing to worry about whether they have Ram Cash or dollar bills at the ready. However, the service can only be used to buy select, prepackaged food at Sandella’s. This service has not been extended to Toasted or the Ram’s Den Grille. We are hoping that changes in the future. The swipes should be used like meal exceptions in the past, allowing students to purchase hot food as well.
A significant complaint students had in past years concerned the hours of operation at the dining hall – it closed at 7:30 p.m. on the weekdays and 7 p.m. on the weekends. Now, the cafeteria is open until 9 p.m. every day, with a limited menu for the last two hours. Additionally, the Ram’s Den Grille has extended hours.
Keeping students with allergies and food sensitivities in mind, Sodexo has also created “Simple Servings,” a station in the Dining Commons where the food is prepared gluten and allergy-free.
Even with these improvements, we at The Gatepost still believe Sodexo can make some more adjustments campus-wide. We still believe there are ways Sodexo could offer more food accommodations for residents and commuters. For example, there are still limited options for vegans and people with allergies outside of the dining hall. Additionally, venues such as Red Barn and Starbucks aren’t open on the weekends.
The only way these changes will made, however, is if students continue to speak up and let Sodexo know it could improve.
Fortunately, Sodexo hosts a bi-monthly meeting named Culinary Council. In these meetings, students are welcome to present concerns and make menu item suggestions.
We urge students to participate.
Sodexo is offering students a platform to voice their opinions on their dining experience – we suggest they use it.