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Saint Mary’s works to improve food services

Ashley Charnley | Wednesday, December 9, 2009

One of the things students miss when they are away from home is the cooking, but Saint Mary’s Barry Bowles, general manager for Sodexho at the College, said he does his best to work with the more than 1,200 students who have meal plans on campus.

Bowles said one of his most demanding challenges is satisfying the diverse needs of the young women. He said he tries to please as many as possible, knowing he can never satisfy everyone.

“Students have a different idea of what healthy means, they have a different idea of what variety means,” Bowles said.

According to Bowles, the dining hall Web site has been updated recently to keep in sync with the rest of the College’s Web site. The site now offers more convenient nutritional information for students, as well as continuing to provide weekly menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The updated Web site also has a place where students can go to make comments, either anonymously or with their e-mail addresses so they can get a direct response. Bowles said he would like to hear from students more.

“Saint Mary’s women are so nice. It’s hard to get people to open up,” Bowles said.
The form requires students pick what venue they have a concern with, or even positive feedback for, and then the date on which it happened. The forms are linked on the food services Web page.

Also, students wishing to make comments can do so at the front desk of the Student Center.

The process for reviewing the comments was changed, and they no longer go directly to food services, Bowles said. Now, a representative in Student Involvement sees them first, and then gives a report to Bowles. He then responds to them by posting on the bulletin board inside the door of the Noble Family Dining Hall.

Another issue on campus with food services has been rumors about the closing of Dalloway’s, the campus clubhouse. Bowles said he has no authority to close the location, and he encourages students to continue to go there.

“It has one of the more cozy, warm atmospheres on campus. I would love to see more students make use of it,” Bowles said.

Lunches are served at Dalloway’s every Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and dinner is served there every Monday through Thursday starting at 7:30 p.m. These meals count as meal swipes on students’ cards, Bowles said.

Bowles is also working to make meals available in Spes Unica Hall. He said he hopes to have a fresh sandwich and maybe fresh fruit or something small to go with it that would be available for students who only have time for a quick lunch, or who need something on the go.

Bowles said he is working on other projects that faculty and students have wanted to see such as a food cart in the library. The timeframe for these ideas is still up in the air though.


Overall, Bowles would like to see more feedback from students — both positive and negative — about food services on campus.


“We are available to talk to, so please talk to us,” Bowles said. “I love talking to students and I am available and very approachable.”