Students often complain about the food service options on campus. When given an opportunity to address their concerns to Weber State and Sodexo officials, almost no one showed up.
The Thursday food service committee saw attendance from a small group of student senators, most of whom served on the committee itself.
Director of dining services Keith Murray and Director of the Shepherd Union Bill Fruth discussed concerns and issues that have come up this semester with food issues on campus.
Fruth attributed the low attendance to a conflicting event involving a state senator talking about the future of higher education in the Wildcat Theater.
Fruth said he is planning on rescheduling another meeting in a week or two to give more students a chance to participate. No firm date has been set at this time.
Pacific Islander Sen. Jared Shaw brought a list of common complaints reviewed by the student Senate this semester, including the much-discussed $100 limit. The $100 limit is based on a Weber State policy that controls petty cash on campus.
Clubs and organizations have complained they feel limited by the policy.
Fruth said the policy was created to give students options and not have Sodexo for every plate of cookies or light refreshments for events. Fruth said the policy has not been updated since the 1980s and they are currently working on revisions.
He wants to focus on what the policy was intended for, potlucks or light refreshments, and stop people who abuse it by having each individual member of the group spend $100.
Fruth added that Board of Health regulations and liability concerns cause him to make sure food served on campus is safe.
Another concern raised by Shaw was a compliant about the lack of healthy options for food in Wildcat Village. Murray responded by saying he wanted specifics about what students thought was missing from the menu.
“We always hear complaints about not having healthy options, but our number one moving item is cheeseburgers,” Murray said, adding that for every 10 healthy items, they probably move about three of them.
Murray did not rule out the possibility of adding items to the menu, but wanted to get an idea of what exactly is being asked for.
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Sen. Valeria Torena brought a letter from the Multicultural Center that summarized some of the difficulties they had recently. The Multicultural Center hosts an event called “Tasty Thursday” where they feature food from different continents and cultures.
During one of their events, they had filed an exemption form to use a different caterer. Sodexo offered to cook for the event if the center provided them with recipes.
Once the chefs took a closer look at the recipes, they were afraid they couldn’t make an authentic representation of the food and then sent the recipes back to the Multicultural Center.
The center was concerned that this did not give enough notice to find another caterer, considering the exemption form requires food handlers’ permits and the restaurant’s insurance information, among other things.
Murray said he would look into it and he was sorry for the confusion, but they should have given them more time.
Another concern was raised about the some of the vending machines on campus not taking cards, since many students do not carry cash. Fruth said someone has been stealing the card readers, presumably to sell on the secondary market.
Fruth said it has been reported to the Weber State police and is currently under investigation.
Fruth said he was excited to meet with students since this committee has the ability to effect change with food service on campus.