Murray State students are buzzing about the Sodexo takeover.
For what seemed like semesters on end, students and staff have been complaining about Winslow Dining Hall’s habitual shortcomings; from cross-contamination to dirty dishes and tables, Winslow seemed to have it all.
Finally, last semester, the winds of change began blowing over campus and students heard about Sodexo, the company Murray State was contracting to completely turn the place around. This raised many questions for Murray State students. Would there be more options? Would they see change in student staffing? What about the flies that seemingly covered the place?
Sodexo was able to answer a few of these questions before any change actually happened, letting students know that they would bring in some new options for those eating on campus. Aside from simply changing up the cafeteria, the company planned to bring in a Chick-fil-A, a Steak n’ Shake, an Einstein Bros. Bagels and an official Starbucks.
This semester Sodexo has officially taken over and students are finally seeing results.
With the transition, Winslow has began offering a multitude of new meal selections for students, including vegetarian and vegan options. The cafeteria has also welcomed in a more environmentally friendly attitude, exchanging the Styrofoam takeout boxes for new, reusable plastic ones.
Winslow’s management has attempted to reduce waste and increase cleanliness by having the staff serve students, with the exception of the pasta, pizza, vegetarian and vegan options. In some lines, staff even make the food for you as you wait for it.
For the most part, this is definitely a step in the right direction. Sodexo has helped Winslow get back in the game.
The new options make eating in the dining hall a lot safer for students who have allergies. Last year, the dessert separation of nuts versus no nuts was a good try, but the official no cross-contamination guarantee offered now is infinitely better.
With the growing vegetarian and vegan population at Murray State, the new options for those students are a great stride in the right direction. No longer just limited to one measly salad line, students can now find rice, vegetables, tofu and more.
The line will even follow the theme of the day. Say it’s an international night, students will enjoy vegan and vegetarian options from around the world. Late Night dining is also offering vegetarian and vegan students options- a huge step in bringing Winslow’s attendance back up.
Keeping the positive changes flowing, Sodexo has brought in much healthier options for students. Now, every meal doesn’t have a key ingredient of grease.
No longer is salad seemingly the only healthy option; the sandwich deli has buffed up, and the Simple Servings line looks to offer lighter options to those who seek that sort of meal.
They didn’t stop at changing the food- Sodexo brought in all new dishes to replace the habitually dirty plates students knew so well.
The old, colorful dishes have been exchanged for more formal, plain white dining ware. Bringing in a fine dining feel, this change is certainly for the better. No longer will students feel like children eating off plates from a toy store.
An exceptional change is the switch from Styrofoam to environmentally friendly, reusable takeout boxes.
At first, the green boxes caused confusion. No one quite knew where they were coming from, until students went to Winslow and, after asking for takeout, learned for themselves.
The new takeout boxes are Winslow’s attempt to clean up the planet one meal at a time.
On their first visit for takeout, students will get their green box. On their second visit and thereafter, things change. There is a machine that students can put their boxes in, and in turn, it will give them a token. This token is exchangeable for a recycled box.
How does this encourage students to reuse their old boxes? When getting a brand new box for takeout, students will be charged $5. When using a token, they are charged nothing.
The next step is for the Thoroughbred Room and Market 22 to adopt the changes as well. Students looking to get nachos for their next meal still run into the Styrofoam issue.
Under the T-Room are the Stables. This is where Sodexo plans to build Chick-fil-A, another exciting change students at Murray State have been practically begging for.
Along with a Chick-fil-A, Einstein Bros. Bagels will be joining campus at the library replacing the Waterfield Café. While students will lose the sandwich line, the bagels and fresh coffee sound just as good if not better.
Not only are the restaurants great for the current campus population, but they will definitely help bring in prospective students. Other schools have been outsourcing dining services for as long as Murray has been a college town.
Sodexo was a source of mystery and almost dread for a long time as students waited with bated breath for the outcome of the change. With the steps taken so far, Murray State students can only hope that it keeps getting better and better.