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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

A Dining Board member explains what’s new with dining policies

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Carleton Students were sick of Sodexo and their greasy, frozen, unhealthy food options, so we contracted Bon Appétit in hopes of an improved dining service because let’s face the facts: we pay $50,000 a year to attend this school and we should be getting better food than meatloaf and frozen vegetables. Meaning we, as a student body, had dreams of better, fresher, healthier food options and that is exactly what we got.

Yet, such a dramatic transition does not come without consequence, change, and adjustment. There have been complaints upon complaints about the lines in the dining halls and the new structure of Sayles. These things, although somewhat upsetting in actuality, seem more distressing then they really need to be. I think the main problem we, as Carleton students, are having is the lack of communication between Bon Appétit management and the consumers.

That being said, I am writing as a member of the Dining Board to reassure you that your issues are being addressed and to fill you in on the reasons why some things, like no turkey in Sayles for example, are happening. So here goes nothing:

Let’s first look at the dining halls since there are minimal complaints there. The lines are bad. I know, it’s frustrating, but it’s part of Bon Appétit’s policy. They want their staff to have as many interactions with students as possible. They also want to somewhat control food portions for both increasing health awareness and decreasing food waste. Good idea right? The problem, though, is when someone who has waited in line wants more than the portion provided and is turned down. This is not okay and Bon Appétit management knows that. They have assured the Dining Board that they will tell their employees that if someone wants more, or less for that matter, give them what they want. So just be bold and ask.

Another thing that has caused some distress among students is that some items, like bananas, are not available at every meal. This is part of Bon Appétit’s low-carbon diet policy: they try to get any and all food they can locally and the things that are not available locally are shipped from somewhere else in the states. That means that some items cannot be available all the time because they are not local. For a campus that tries to be “green” we need to understand that some foods, like bananas, increase our carbon diet so they will not be as available as they used to be.

Let’s turn now to the Sayles Hill Café that used to be known as the “snack bar” but has more recently been called the “meal bar”. One issue that has raised a lot of voices is the lack of snacks but, don’t you worry, they are on their way. We are getting some coolers (like the one’s last year that held our snacks) to fit along the backside of the coffee bar to have our “grab-and-go” food like string cheese and juices and anything else (if you have suggestions for snacks please email [email protected] ). It may take a little time to get them up and running but they will be there eventually, and the snacks will be back.

Another issue is the lines in Sayles. They’re awful. They really are worse than those in the dining hall, particularly during class breaks. Be aware, though, that there is often someone ready to do check-out in the middle of the snack bar who is rarely busy since most people think they have to pay at the coffee bar. So, look over there first and if no one is there then ask politely for it to be opened and I bet you it will be done.

Also, just to reiterate what most people already know: the food available in Sayles is produced locally so it is, naturally, more expensive and less diverse. Once again, though, this is a price that we should be willing to pay to support the “green” movement at Carleton.

To piggy-back off the fact that Sayles food is locally driven let’s talk about turkey for a brief moment. There have been many complaints that there is no turkey available for deli sandwiches. But wait, there’s a good reason for it and turkey will eventually be available but no one really knows this so let me try to explain. A local turkey provider could not be identified until just recently so now we have one and have signed up to be in the “turkey cycle”. This means that the farmer, aware of our needs, will provide enough turkey meat for us by raising more turkeys. Unfortunately, though, we have to wait until the turkeys are grown to get their meat. Since we just joined the cycle, the meat the will not be ready until later this year. So, even though it’s inconvenient now, it’s pretty cool that Bon Appétit is trying to be “green” and is conscious of the benefits of eating locally, so let’s do our best to support them in their efforts.

Overall, the change in food providers has been a huge blessing to this campus, but it is still in it’s transitional period. Please, please, please feel free to voice your complaints or concerns because Bon Appétit wants to hear them and they want to accommodate our wishes to the best of their abilities. If you have any other questions regarding policy or changes feel free to email me anytime.

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