by Evan Cooke
Loyalist College’s food service provider will now meet with the student government on a regular basis to discuss student concerns.
Pierre Overvelde, director of food services at the college, said in an email that a new Food Service Advisory Committee is in the process of being developed, so that Aramark can meet with the students directly to improve service.
Since the beginning of the school year, many students, especially ones who find themselves at the school after 3 pm, have been frustrated at the lack of food options. Between Tim Horton’s, Subway, and the main cafeteria, Subway is the only one that stays open from 3 to 8.
Chris Barnim, president of the student government, said they’ve already had one meeting, and that changes have been implemented.
“Before the break there were no cookies in Subway and we were kind of curious about that, and now there’s cookies, it’s kind of cool that they implemented that”
Bill Walsh, vice-president of enrollment management & student services, said that they’re still hammering out the details of exactly who will be a part of the meetings.
Walsh said that Aramark has planned to implement the committee since the beginning of the year. They were just delayed a few weeks by the support staff strike. Now, they’ll start meeting every couple of weeks to try and get caught up with issues, and possibly move to a monthly meeting further down the road.
“It was something we talked about actually when the contract was signed. Aramark had proposed that and we thought it was a great idea. They had done it in other places so we thought that was great and we just got a little delayed in implementing it. ”
According to Barnim, complaints over the cafeteria’s hours are one of the most frequent complaints they hear. He doesn’t see any reason why Overvelde and Aramark wouldn’t at least consider a change.
“They seem really open to change, for all our input he never said ‘No we can’t do this’. They take all our input and gather it and take it into consideration. They’re very open. ”
Walsh confirmed that the issue of hours has “been on the radar (of Aramark) for a while.” The addition of Subway has been a big boost in popularity, but Aramark can really only afford to keep either Subway or the main cafeteria open between 3 and 8, not both. He said that after surveying students, it hasn’t been an easy decision when it comes to which service will stay open.
“We have as many people saying they like Subway and want Subway to continue to be open as we do saying the other thing, so that’s the challenge – how do you get both?”
Until then, the College will continue to monitor the discussions and as both sides look for a solution.