For a week, the three of us spent a lot of time in all the dining halls on campus. We had dinner dates at a different hall each night.
We ate together, but mostly talked to the other students and workers around us.
We spent even more time with the Dining Services administration, trying to find answers to questions we had heard from all the students with whom we shared meals.
They wanted to know why Sodexho changed a well-liked dining program that allowed constant access to all the dining halls on campus.
They wondered whether Sodexho had financial motivations for changing the plan, feeling as if the company didn’t reach out to hear student concerns beforehand.
Most of all, they complained about not being able to eat where they wanted to, or running out of points because they did so.
After all the complaining, only 30 students showed up to the SGA meeting last Wednesday. Those who did had a lot to say, but could not say anything until after the meeting.
SGA ran a poor meeting in terms of letting student concerns be heard. Students should have been allowed to speak out freely, rather than having their questions confined to a slip of paper.
Fortunately, these students were able to voice their concerns after the meeting. But where are the others who complained so adamantly as they devoured the “bullshit” being fed to them?
John Higgins, general manager of Dining Services, and Stephen Hugg, marketing director for Dining Services, stuck around to hear concerns, as students piled out of the SGA meeting. They missed other meetings and talked to students for an hour.
However, their answers were full of Catch-22 logic, seeming roundabout and scripted.
It seemed as if the words “but you can eat wherever you want,” were programmed into them.
They appeared convinced that the Carte Blanche program was implemented solely in accordance with student satisfaction. They denied outright that Carte Blanche was brought to the College to aid Sodexho financially.
After three years of financial loss, it seemed as if it would be good business to change a system that was not profitable.
Our feelings were substantiated by Sodexho’s refusal to show any financial statistics, which Higgins said he did not want to show in fear of other companies competing for the College’s business.
Further, Karen Roth, director of Auxiliary Services, said that Carte Blanche should supply Sodexho with some financial relief.
In our opinion, it is OK to want your business to thrive. However, it is not OK to do so at the expense of your clients. And clients, if they know they are not getting a good deal, should act to get what they want.
We’ve done the homework, usually over dinner. It is now up to the students to digest the information and cook up a plan of action.
-Kristina Fiore, Donna Kardos, and Tammy Tibbetts