Campus Auxiliary Services (CAS) is introducing several short-term and long-term changes, some which have already been implemented. CAS extended their hours in the Student Union at the start of the school year and will soon unveil a massive new vending machine on the concourse.
The current contract with Sodexo, the food service provider, is up for renewal. Potential vendors such as Aramark, Chartwells and Sodexo are expected to bid on the new contract by Nov. 9, according to the Request for Proposal (RFP) Process Timeline from CAS. The 60-page contract gives an overview of CAS and the current dining plan and general information for vendors.
“All the candidates have to have Grade-A food,” Josh Simpson, president of the Student Association (SA), said.
CAS and its E-Board members said they are looking for the provider that will “maximize what is available locally,” said Steve Deutsch, Executive Director of CAS.
“With a new contract, you can ask for the world,” Deutsch said. “But how are they going to prove that every effort is being made to buy local?”
In preparation for the campus dining overhaul, CAS closed Hawk Street Station, previously known as “Oscar’s,” Deutsch said. The late-night dining service once offered a variety of food from frozen dinners, ice creams and the most sought after item: coffee.
Though students can now visit the The Grille, located in the Student Union (SU), as one of their options until 1 a.m, some are still unhappy with the changes.
“I want to be able to get a salad, good fries or a cereal late at night,” second-year elementary education major, Rachel Blum said. “They’re making an effort but it’s not the same.”
As Hawk Street Station is no longer available, other late-night snackers have resorted to places off campus to get their cravings satisfied, according to Anne Dierkes, a second-year accounting major.
“It’s really frustrating to not have a place to go when I’m studying late at night,” Dierkes said. “When I want to get coffee or a sandwich, I have to go to Convenient [deli] to get it.”
CAS has also purchased a $300,000 vending machine Shop24, supplied by Pepsi, to be placed on the SU concourse by the end of October. As the machine is provided by Pepsi an estimated 70 percent of the profits go to Pepsi and the other estimated 30 percent is given to CAS, Deutsch said.
Deutsch said students will be able to find items that they need at their own convenience at the vending machine. According to the list of potential items going in the vending machine, students can expect a variety of bottled juices, candy and even personal hygiene items like shampoo.
“Students are all about convenience,” Deutsch said.
Roberto LoBianco, an SA student senator and member of the CAS board said students are also not thrilled with the Shop24 vending machine because it will only be taking cash, Hawk Dollars and debit or credit cards, inconveniencing those on the meal plan.
LoBianco also said he is concerned that Shop24 goes against all sustainability goals the campus had previously worked toward. He and 800 students surveyed said they prioritize making fresh fruit and locally-grown, organic options available on campus.
LoBianco said the campus needs to think about the decisions we are making now in order to make for a better future.
“Pepsi is taking two steps back with the machine,” said LoBianco.