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Loyalist admin says it hasn't heard cafeteria complaints

By Evan Cooke

Students line up at Loyalist's Subway. During the week, this is the only food service location open after 3:00

Loyalist students frustrated with the cafeteria’s lack of selection after 3 p.m. are going to have to get used to it, according to the school’s administration.

Dianne Spencer, executive director of college advancement, said that the college still offers service into the evenings but with a new alignment.
“The present hours meet or exceed previous hours,” said Spencer. “But the difference is that the food service is available through Subway, rather than the main cafeteria.”

But having a selection other than subs is important to many students who live on residence. Lauren Donnelly, a first year student in the Early Childhood Education program, said she was convinced that having a meal card was a good idea, but so far hasn’t been impressed.

“A lot of the time I’m in class from 8 or 9 in the morning and I don’t have time to go to the cafeteria for lunch. I was hoping for a lot of other choices, but there’s always only Subway available.”

In an attempt to provide a slightly broader dinner menu for on-campus students, Aramark, the company in charge of food services, began a “Res Express” service in September that offers select items to be delivered to students in residence. But Donnelly said that unless you have a big budget and a big appetite, this service hasn’t worked for her.

“Well there’s only like, one size of pizza, which was way too much for just me. Plus, my whole meal cost like $28.”

Leighann Bishop is an upper year student who also lives on campus. Between being in the paralegal program, and playing on the school’s volleyball team, she spends a lot of time at the school after 3 p.m.

” All my classes are done at 3, and if I want to eat after, I can’t. I don’t like eating Subway all the time, it gets old fast.”

She feels that the cafeteria should be open until 6 at night, and should extend until 8 on nights when the school hosts sporting events.

This is the first year of an Aramark-run cafeteria for Loyalist, as the company replaced Chartwells over the summer. In an earlier interview with QNet, Aramark food service director Pierre Overvelde said that the cafeteria was originally going to stay open until 8 p.m., but with the support staff on strike there were fewer people on campus at that time, so the decision was made to close earlier. He also said at that time the cafeteria was going to look at extending its hours in following weeks.

But Spencer said that the strike is not a factor in the hours that the cafeteria currently keeps.

“3’o’clock. That was the original plan. These hours may change with break weeks and vacations, but if there are concerns, they need to be brought forward.”

Overvelde declined an interview this time, but instead issued a statement:

“Aramark has always been committed to ensuring that the needs and concerns of the students and staff are met. Through marketing surveys and interaction with the client, Aramark is able to determine and address the needs of the college community and determine how we can better service the students, staff and faculty.”

Spencer said that the college has no intention of adjusting the cafeteria’s hours right now.

“These hours were set in discussion with all the (college’s) parties in the beginning. Those decisions are made in conjunction with a number of people, including students.”

Spencer said she hasn’t heard any complaints from students.

“If students have concerns about that, as with any service, it’s really important that that feedback comes back to the college,” she said.

Spencer also said that the student government, which has a say in how the cafeteria is run, is a good place to start for students who want to express their complaints.

With files from Jennifer Bowman.