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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-20-24 PDF
February 20, 2024
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February 12, 2024

Food For Thought

Here you will find the delights of Quinn. Photos
Catherine Matson-Grosser
Here you will find the delights of Quinn. Photos

For the past three years, Sodexho has been under contract with UMass Boston to provide food and catering services throughout the entire campus. In that three-year time, there has been tension between that company and students. Rumors of the Wit’s End Café and Quinn Cafeteria closing and a recent clash between Sodexho and the Graduate Student Assembly have brought the issue fresh into students’ minds.

At a recent GSA meeting that was catered by Sodexho, students were shocked to discover that their food had already been eaten when they arrived. Sodexho had set the food up early and students walking by took advantage of the unguarded food.

“Neither Sodexho nor the University has the personal available to watch over each delivery,” Sodexho General Manager David Levine said.

When this incident was brought to the attention of Levine and Assistant Vice Chancellor for the Campus Center Diane D’Arrigo, they responded with the following: “Once this happened, an email was sent to those in charge and, after review and conversations between parties, the problem was resolved and neither Sodexho nor Carol Coscia were to be blamed. Caroline agreed via email stating that there was a miscommunication between the GSA and Sodexho. However, I cannot place blame on any one person-it was a combination of miscommunications, which involved the paper work, ordering the food and actually delivering it.”

Levine and D’Arrigo commented that situations like this could be prevented in the future by becoming more aware of the public areas surrounding the deliveries and how much individual foot traffic there is. D’Arrigo also suggested asking those who order the food if there will be somebody present to attend to it or if the food should simply be left out.

Sodexho fills 80 to 120 deliveries on a daily basis spread all over the campus and Levine claimed that it was a rare case for to be set up before time allotted. According to Levine, 99 percent of Sodexho’s deliveries are left behind closed doors, so there has never been any real threat of the food being eaten before the event.

Students often complain of high food prices, but according to Sodexho they have only increased their prices 3 percent in the three years they have been with UMass Boston. When comparing Sodexho’s cost and food analyses with other schools in the surrounding area, Northeastern, MIT and Harvard, UMass Boston has proven to fall 12 percent below the average market value.

Food prices are not the only thing that determines where students eat. When some students were quizzed as to where they would like to spend there free time between classes, Wit’s End Café won unanimously. One student said that eating in the Campus Center Cafeteria was like eating in an airport terminal. Students like Wit’s End because of its relaxed and comfortable surroundings. It is a place where students can catch up on a little bit of sleep between classes, bring their own food (microwaves provided), play games or just study in an environment that is comfortable and homey.

Sharing these thoughts with Levine and D’Arrigo brought to light how Sodexho is presently working with the Campus Services on ways of improving the atmosphere of the Campus Center Cafeteria and the Quinn Cafeteria. Currently, a survey will be distributed among the student body with the suggestion of changing the Quinn Cafeteria from an eatery that serves breakfast to a “grab and go” eatery. Quinn Cafeteria would be downsized and Campus Center Cafeteria would be upgraded to be able to serve both breakfast and lunch. Instead of the CC Cafeteria only opening for lunch it will now be opened at 7 a.m. instead of 11:30 a.m. Many students have voiced this particular change over the years and hopefully this survey will help campus services in pursuing this aspect of improvement

According to D’Arrigo, ways in which to improve the surroundings of the Campus Center Cafeteria are now being discussed as well. Such items of change would be providing a microwaves for the students, correcting the lighting by brightening up the food court and dimming the cafeteria. Sodexho is trying to improve upon is the cafeteria experience where the student can watch their food being freshly made to order while they wait.