After the Sadler Center’s extensive renovation, students will experience another change to campus dining in the 2014-15 academic year.
Campus Dining recently announced that Sodexo will replace Aramark as the contractor for food services. Sodexo, a “quality of life services company,” was founded in 1966 and has venues in 80 countries. Its contract will begin July 1 of this year. The Office of Procurement selected a new provider because Aramark was at the end of its term.
Overall, the process of deciding which contractor to move forward had many stages.
The College arrived at its decision following a long period of deliberation. Approximately one year ago, a dining consultant company visited and surveyed students across campus, formulating an assessment of services the food provider should offer.
From there, the College took the information collected by the consulting company and asked for proposals from food vendors, which were due Oct. 4, 2013. Then the Office of Procurement spent months winnowing down the proposals from vendors until it made its selection, which was announced to the wider campus community Feb. 3.
“There’s a tremendous amount of work that goes into trying to put the whole thing together so that when [we] get these hundred-page proposals back, [we’re] getting [information] that’s useful and viable,” Director of Procurement Services Greg Johnson said.
Sodexo will formulate its dining goals when its term begins this summer. However, the company did share that it will be creating a new dining experience for students, using sustainable methods to implement the latest culinary trends. Sodexo will also evaluate the dining halls to determine if vendors, such as the ones in Marketplace, will change.
“Sodexo seeks to infuse an innovative culinary vision from some of the most respected restaurateurs,” Director of Auxiliary Services Cindy Glavas said in an email.
The new contractor also plans on using locally grown food in “made from scratch” recipes, which will be a sustainable method of meal preparation. These plans reflect the goals of campus organizations like the Student Environmental Action Coalition, whose members work to promote such sustainability. Thus far, Campus Dining has cooperated with sustainability goals by establishing the Campus Gardens and donating excess food to individuals in need.
“Sustainability is important in a college institution because this is where we live [and] work,” Co-Facilitator of SEAC Natalie Hurd ’16 said. “If we had [locally grown food] everyday, that would be wonderful.”
Although Sodexo pledges to bring innovative changes to the dining halls, some aspects of students’ food experience will not change. Sodexo will attempt to retain current dining workers and transition those who wish to stay at the College into the Sodexo team.
Currently, Sodexo and the College are in the process of finalizing their contract. Once the two entities make decisions about the type of food they will provide and the transformations that will occur in the dining halls, they will share those details with the campus community.
“When you get down to it, if this isn’t the most important contract we do relative to the students, I don’t know what is,” Johnson said. “I don’t think there’s one that has more effect than this does.”