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SMC students express concerns over food services

Alaina Anderson | Thursday, November 21, 2013

It’s food week at Saint Mary’s, a time for students to learn about the foods they’re eating and ways to eat healthier. As a part of food week, students had the opportunity Wednesday to bring their questions and concerns to Barry Bowles, general manager of Sodexo dining services, which operates the Saint Mary’s dining hall.

Junior Katie Stare, food services co-chair for the Student Government Association, said it is important for students to have a dialogue with Bowles.

“A lot of students don’t realize they can raise their questions and concerns to Barry and he will help out, so it’s a way to talk to him one on one and have their questions addressed,” Stare said.

During the discussion, Bowles addressed students’ desire to have eggs served longer so they can eat a healthy breakfast. Another alternative would be having an induction cooker installed to have a make your own eggs bar, he said.

“I don’t know if we can do the induction cooker, and doing an open flame is hard,” Bowles said. “The induction cooker takes a special power supply, which I’d have to ask the College to install. But I’m not going to say no, I kind of like that.”

Bowles said students who want the dining hall to be open later than 8 p.m. can find plenty of options to eat at other times, including co-exchange with Notre Dame.

“What students need to understand is it costs dining services in the College for every half-hour increment we’re open,” he said. “Who honestly pays that cost? Students. If students are willing to pay to have the dining hall stay open late, we can do that. But from what I hear, we’re already too costly.”

Bowles said if a Saint Mary’s student needs a co-exchange to Notre Dame’s dining hall, she could easily get one to accommodate her needs.

“I trust Saint Mary’s students. If they need a co-exchange, then they’ll get a co-exchange,” he said. “It just takes setting up an appointment with me and we’ll work through it.”

Bowles said Saint Mary’s has partnered with Real Foods, a student driven program to increase the dining hall’s usage of local, organic and sustainable foods.

“Saint Mary’s has signed with Real Foods that we will be 20 percent local, organic and sustainable by 2020,” he said. “Last year in February, we were at 18.6 percent, so we’re really close. Our new goal in dining services is to be 25 percent by 2020, because we can hit it.”

Bowles said the best part of his day is when he gets to be in the dining hall and actually serve the students.

“My favorite part about food week is working with the students and listening to their ideas of what they want to do,” he said. “If the student population thinks we don’t listen to them? We do. And we act on what we can act on.”

Contact Alaina Anderson at aander02@saintmarys.edu