Sunday, April 14, 2013

Food Service Complaints, by Casey Seneczko

There are many changes happening at UW-L this fall: the new basement of Drake Hall, the parking structure and planning a new student union. Among them is the new dining service- Sodexo. But the changes Sodexo has made are not going over well with the students.

Sodexo took over as UW-L’s meal provider last July. Sodexo is a nutritional and financial advantage to the university, said Chancellor Joe Gow in an interview last spring. UW-L  has also hired a new nutritionist. However, the uproar around campus suggests the new option unfavorable and a financial disadvantage to the students.

Alongside the food service switch, meal plan options have also been changed. For on campus options, excluding Reuter Hall, students can choose the 14 or 19 Basic, or 14 or 19 plus which includes 30 block meals to be used anywhere. These plans range from $1,230 (14 Basic) to $1,396 (19 Plus).  The Reuter Block Plan costs $620 for 75 meals per semester. Off Campus Block plan includes 50 meals for $345. No meals left at the end of the semester will transfer to Spring. While there hasn’t been a huge change in the logistics of the meal plans, students have expressed that the problem lies beyond that.

Students are unhappy. Lexie Krueger, a freshman with the 19 basic said “I eat all my meals mostly at Whitney. Breakfast is usually good, but there is never enough variety for lunch and dinner.” With the removal of the ‘DIY’ salad, pasta and stir fry bars, variety in Whitney factors largely into the concerns of many students.  Many off campus students feel they are paying too much for the options they are provided. “I feel ripped off,” senior Cassidy Flannery is of the majority. Cartwright choices include only food options under $4.88, but students are technically paying $7.00 per meal. For example, students with any block plan can choose a sub from Erbert’s and Gerbert’s, but it must be “Classic” sub costing $4.45. Sophomore, Mike Rastas said “the new meal plan has nowhere near the amount of choices students had last year. The food quality has gone down and students are paying an excessive amount of money for it all.”

UW-L students have not stopped talking about the new meal plan. Many students are so upset they have returned their meal plans entirely. “It just wasn’t worth it,” said senior Lindsay Gall.

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