Story by COURTNEY MUNS, for The Muleskinner—
Most students on campus may think they’re familiar with Sodexo, the company that supplies food to the cafeterias and some of the other food places on campus, such as Jazzman’s, but many students may not be acquainted with the decision making and interworking of the company.
To give students an opportunity to ask questions and to learn more about Sodexo’s choices and goals, General Manager Mike Devries attended UCM’s Student Government Association meeting on Nov. 13.
Devries’ 25th year at Sodexo will be this February, and he has helped apply many changes and additions to campus dining that many people may not be aware of.
“Sodexo supplied the first salad bar, Pepsi machine, Pizza Hut, and the first ‘buffet’ style on campus,” he said.
His appearance at SGA was mainly to give students, not just SGA members, a chance to ask him questions that they might have regarding Sodexo.
Many topics were brought up, such as the lack of straws in the cafeterias, what they do with the leftovers, and how Sodexo tackles recycling their wastes, such as used grease. The common denominator between all subjects was Sodexo’s aim at maintaining sustainability.
“If straws are a student request, we can definitely look into it, but straws do tend to get into the disposals and cause plumbing problems,” Devries said. “At the beginning of the year, every student who lives on campus was supposed to be given a water bottle with a straw on it, and its purpose was to give them a straw but to also re use the bottle for sustainability.”
Sodexo has also tried being more environmentally conscious by using eco-friendly cups and eliminating as much Styrofoam as possible with their catering orders.
Another topic that was brought up more than once were different dietary specialties, such as creating vegan meals and possibly seeing gluten-free meals in the cafeterias.
As of right now, Sodexo offers a ‘Wild Mushroom’ station and a ‘Mongolian Grill’ station in the cafeterias, which have vegetable stir fry, tofu items, salad, etc.
These stations help accommodate the vegetarians on campus, but the vegan and gluten-free meals are more complicated.
“Students can come to the floor meetings with USHA about certain meals or requests,” Devries said. “We need to know what it is that students want. Students can also ask for a specific dish on the suggestion cards and Sodexo will work to help students see it.”
If students have any dietary needs, they can talk to the management at Todd or Ellis dining halls to help accommodate their needs.
As far as new and exciting food choices go for students, Devries said that points can now be used at Traditions restaurant, which is located at Pertle Springs. Traditions is a full service restaurant and clubhouse.
“Now is the time to start talking about change for next year,” Devries said.
Devries said he is more than happy to speak with anyone about questions or concerns. To contact him, call 660-543-4012.