At the College, meal equivalency is synonymous with lengthy lines and the challenge of getting food in a timely manner. On a typical weekday, hordes of students pack into the Lion’s Den to grab lunch between classes.
“When you get here right at 11 or 11:20 a.m., it’s almost impossible to find a seat, let alone wait in line,” said sophomore English major Matt Fuhrmeister.
There are at least five lines leading up to the registers and lines are equally long to order salads or sandwiches.
“I didn’t want to wait in the salad line, so I got this one,” said freshman Megan Bordonaro, referencing a prepackaged salad sitting in front of her. The freshman elementary education and English double major admitted it was not as good as one made fresh.
Although this is what meal equiv looks like now, the College announced last week that they anticipate a long-term partnership with Sodexo Dining Services that will not only enhance dining options, but will also result in significant renovation of the Brower Student Center.
“We envision a renovation that will dramatically improve the ability of Brower to serve our students and the entire campus community,” said Matthew Golden, associate vice president for Communications, Marketing, and Brand Management, in an email.
According to a College press release, potential plans include adding a bistro to the Student Center and upgrades in the Library Café, the Education Café, Armstrong Hall’s Kineticart and T-Dubs.
“The Sodexo partnership will provide funding for both dining space upgrades and overall, large-scale facility renovations,” Golden explained.
After a competitive bidding process with a variety of vendors, the College selected Sodexo, the same company they have worked with for the past 10 years. The current five-year contract expires in June, but this new agreement could be for up to 15 years, Golden said.
The agreement is not yet finalized, according to Golden, but the Board of Trustees authorized execution of a multi-year contract at last Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting.
“It is highly likely that the deal will be finalized during the next couple of months,” Golden said. The student center renovations would take roughly three years to execute.
The College plans to establish a group with campus-wide representation, including student representatives, that will help develop the vision for the renovation plans, Golden said.
Not only is the College excited about the anticipated agreement, but Sodexo seems equally pleased.
In the press release, the College’s Sodexo General Manager Patrice Mendes said, “Sodexo Campus Services views this agreement as an opportunity to build something that will truly move the campus dining industry forward, and we think TCNJ is the perfect place to launch such an innovative and comprehensive project.”