Students, university officials discuss dining changes

SodexoStudents took their concerns about food service to Sodexo and Office of Residence Life officials at a meeting earlier this week.

Some students called for better access to nutritional information about food served in campus dining halls during a forum hosted by the Residence Hall Association in Carpenter Tower Monday.

Kevin Gilligan, operations manager for Sodexo Campus Services at Marquette, pointed out that nutrition facts for all menu items can be accessed through Marquette’s Dining Services Web site.

Gilligan said Sodexo plans to place a computer in each dining hall that is locked on the Dining Services Web site so students can readily access nutritional information and menu choices.

Students also asked about more vegan and vegetarian options becoming available in the dining halls. Gilligan said signs will be put up to indicate if each menu item is vegan, vegetarian, carb-friendly or a well-balanced option.

Gilligan later said via e-mail he is in the process of making temporary signs until permanent posters come in.

Students at the meeting suggested possible improvements.

“I personally don’t have a problem with the food here – I think it’s fine –  but I know a lot of people complain,” said Briana King, a freshman in the College of Communication and member of RHA.

King also said she would like to see more options available to students, including more vegetarian-friendly meals and more choices for Meal Exchange in Marquette Place.

“I have a friend who is a vegetarian,” King said. “She said that (the vegetarian meals) are all really starchy and she would like healthier vegetarian options.”

Gilligan also said Sodexho is working on plans to offer milk instead of soda and fruit instead of chips in places that offer Meal Exchange.

King said she would be grateful for an alternative to soda and chips.

“I feel obliged to drink the soda because it’s part of the Meal Exchange,” she said.

Some students expressed interest in more Destination Dining options, similar to the Cafe Italiano that is currently offered in Schroeder Hall.

Rick Arcuri, associate dean for administration in ORL, said the original Destination Dining plan called for two additional places similar to Schroeder’s dining hall, but the logistics of where to put them and how to theme them are still unclear.

Gilligan stressed the importance of student feedback at the forum. Throughout the year, Sodexo sends out surveys and students can volunteer ideas and feedback at the Marquette Dining Services Web site.

“Also, simply stop the chef or manager in the dining hall or retail restaurant and give them direct feedback,” Gilligan said via e-mail.

Students also discussed searching for apartments, roommate assignments and Internet access in residence halls, among other topics at the RHA forum.