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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Campus Dining forum voices student complaints

(MARVIN FUENTES / THE STATESMAN)
Students gathered in Frey Hall Wednesday, Sept. 20, to talk about their complaints with Campus Dining foods. (MARVIN FUENTES / THE STATESMAN)

Stony Brook students, Undergraduate Student Government officials, Campus Dining officials and the Faculty Student Association all converged in Frey Hall this afternoon to discuss the problems that students have with the food on campus.

The changes Campus Dining made this semester caused an outrage from residential students about the quality of food provided. The lowering of portions, the higher prices and elimination of a convenience store on campus are just some of the grievances explained by students.

Students were given the chance to voice their opinions on what the school needed to do to improve the quality of dining.  One by one, student after student gave their stance on what needed to change.

One major complaint numerous students made were the sanitary practices by the workers at Kelly Dining. One student claimed to have seen workers at West Side Dining working with raw meat without wearing gloves. Another student claimed to have found plastic in her food.

One student said she was served raw meat.

Loaded with controversy due to lack of features, the new West Side Dining has minimal seating availability, a slow provision of meals and workers who practice questionable sanitation tactics. Its open kitchens make it possible for students to see such acts.

Another criticism students expressed was the lack of vegan and organic options. The FSA responded to these complaints by announcing that they are meeting with the health and nutrition club to discuss how they can bring more healthy options to campus.

Many felt it the forum was a step toward progress.

“I was very happy to see so many students there,” Dawn Villaci, customer advocate for Faculty Student Association, said.  “They really care about what’s happening, not being apathetic but taking a stance and taking the time out of their day to voice their suggestions.”

While many had a positive reaction to the forum, there was still some skepticism from students.

“They heard us but I just feel like the students are a trapped consumer base,” Daniel Podolsky, sophomore, said. “I just think their format that is set up gives them no incentive to change because we don’t have any other options.”

Multiple students including Podolsky asked why Campus Dining has not given more options to students. Potentially working with local grocery chains like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s was given as an example. FSA officials explained that they reached out to those chains among others and none were interested.

600 dollars that will not be used on meal points are taken out of each student’s meal plan. The elimination of flex points further disqualifies the justification. While the meal plan does save students 5 percent, that does not come close to covering the difference.

That circumstance creates reluctance for a multitude of students to believe that the open forum will create the many drastic changes needed for the reputation of Campus Dining to change.

The open forum provided the opportunity for all concerned parties to come together and provide a solution for all the Campus Dining problems. The forum will hopefully be able to provide a consistent communication channel to speed up the needed improvements and satisfy the students in a quicker manner and also give Campus Dining more incentive to improve their service.

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