Most students have beef with Marquette’s cafeteria food, but would rather settle than starve.
That’s why Marquette Student Government’s recommendation to end Sodexo’s contract was a bold move that unleashed welcome discussion on campus.
With MUSG’s recommendation, administrators have the opportunity to improve the food on campus. Let’s make sure administrators thoroughly examine all options.
According to e-mails obtained by the Tribune from an unnamed source, Marquette administrators argue that rising numbers of voluntary meal plans don’t support the claim that students are dissatisfied with Marquette’s food service.
During the 2007-’08 school year, 182 students opted for a voluntary meal plan. Last year, the number jumped up to 354.
However, to determine why more students bought meal plans, surveyors must look at all aspects of the situation. Simply looking at an increase in voluntary meal plans doesn’t necessarily equate to an increase in satisfaction.
The administrators’ e-mails did not describe two important factors that should be examined.
The first is where students swipe with their voluntary meal plans.
Since students can now swipe for a meal at the Brew or Marquette Place instead of the residence halls, meal plans may have gone up for the convenience of the meal exchange program, but perhaps not the quality of Sodexo’s food.
Students may have more options, but the food in the dorms may not have improved.
The second factor administrators should explain is whether students are satisfied with improved campus dining halls like Schroeder, while the rest of the dorms are lacking.
Marquette Place is the number one dining destination for lunch, attracting an average of 1,175 students per day.
Dining in Schroeder Hall is the number one dinner destination, on average drawing 700 students per day, said Todd Vicker, executive director of Alumni Memorial Union & Auxiliary Services.
Similar changes should be implemented across all dining halls, especially those on the edge of campus like Straz, Cobeen and Mashuda.
Do these numbers suggest these venues attract more students, or that students attend these places because the other options aren’t good?
A big factor for the residence halls’ poor quality of food could be low-grade ingredients.
If Sodexo refuses to provide its chefs with quality ingredients, Marquette should consider hiring an entirely new vendor. Even the most talented chef can only prepare food as good as its ingredients.
If Sodexo is willing to make changes to improve the quality of food throughout campus, as it did with Schroeder, then Marquette administrators should keep their partnership with Sodexo.
However, if Sodexo continually increases students’ unhappiness with Marquette’s food, it’s time to say goodbye.
Marquette students shouldn’t have to settle for spoiled food.