A meeting between ARAMARK Food Service representatives and students to discuss problems with dining and offer suggestions for improvements and guidelines was held on Nov. 17 in Hoyt Auditorium.

Guest services manager David Feist felt the meeting was an important way to communicate with students. “Our hopes coming into this was to clean up a lot of misconceptions about dining services,” Feist said.

The other representatives included Senior Contract Administrator Jack Noon and Director of Dining Services and Auxiliary Operations Cameron Schauf.

The discussion was organized by the Outside Speakers Committee. Senior and Internal Chairperson of OSC Patrick Brennan felt that it went well overall. “A lot of good ideas were expressed,” he said.

“Attendance was a little thin,” Brennan admitted. “But that’s understandable for this time of year.”

The dialogue was preceded by a slideshow put together by the ARAMARK representatives detailing the service’s progress and current selection over the last couple of years and outlining the direction they intend the service to take in the future.

It highlighted improvements that have been brought about in the past by student involvement, and especially focused on some of the expanded options made available to UR diners in recent years, such as the grab-n-go kosher sandwiches, late night omelets in Hillside Caf, the sushi bar and the new vegetarian and vegan menu expansions in the dining halls.

Then open discussion began. Many students had complaints about the expense of meals and a lack of flexibility in meal plans.

One example cited was the longtime ritual among UR students of going on spending sprees with their club meals during the last few weeks of each semester because the accounts don’t carry through from semester to semester.

The representatives supported the club plan, but said that they were open to a change or improvement in the system. “[Abolishing the system] is something that comes up,” one said. “We’re keeping it on the table.”

The original reason for the club plan system was to help ARAMARK predict and control when students would use the dining facilities on campus and which ones would be used more.

Brennan felt that informing students about what dining services was planning was as important as informing ARAMARK about what students want. “It gave people a chance to get information about dining services from a source other than hearsay,” he said.

Overall, Feist thought the meeting achieved its goal. “The only way we can change for the better is if we hear peoples problems.”

Additional reporting

by Cyrus Levesque.

Haymovits can be reached at ohaymovits@campustimes.org.

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