By Tim Reiland
After years of deliberation over hiring a company to take care of the Food Services, Rogers State University administration has landed a five year contract with Sodexo to do just that. Sodexo is a company with over 350,000 employees spread across 80 different countries. Sodexo provides food services for a number of other schools such as TU, NSU, NEO, and even Claremore Public Schools, so they are no stranger to the food services industry.
When asked about the administration’s decision to contract RSU’s food services to a separate entity, Tom Volturo, Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance, stated that they were looking for a company “that was used to running a food service operation on a University campus.” Mr. Volturo went on to say that Sodexo brought a lot to the table, and given their size and influence, it just made sense. Volturo also said that RSU’s decision to us Sodexo was also based on the fact that Sodexo will be able to provide food services to the Bartlesville and Pryor campuses quickly and efficiently when the need arises for food services on each of those campuses.
Many students aren’t too pleased with the change, however. Kylie Dent, a Medical Molecular Biology major, stated that Sodexo doesn’t offer enough choices. This particular concern was expressed by every student that was interviewed. Keith Poverud, a student at RSU, said the “prices are ridiculous,” and that the quality of the food has gone down since Sodexo took over the food services. Poverud does, however, like the new setup, and the sandwich bar, which seems to be a hit with many of the other students as well.
These issues may be alleviated in the future. Sodexo has already ordered 3 new, state of the art monitors that will display menu items as well as RSU event calendars. These monitors will be shipped and installed in approximately three weeks. Another change coming to RSU will be the addition of a resident dining hall, which will be located in the new dorm. Mr. Volturo said the new dining hall “is in our long-term plans,” but gave no specific time-frame for completion. Mr. Volturo says that the resident dining hall will be most beneficial to the students who need a “well balanced, three meals a day” place to eat. The current food court will stay on campus after the resident dining hall is completed so that students will still have access to food that can be obtained quickly.
Sodexo is putting together a Student Board of Directors, consisting of 7-9 RSU students. This Board of Directors will be responsible for making suggestions for new menu items, promotions, and other changes in the food services. John Nickel, General Manager for Sodexo, stated that all of the current promotions and menu items are implementations of suggestions that were made by Sodexo’s National Student Board of Directors, and that RSU’s Board will have a lot of power in regard to menu items and promotions for RSU. All students that are interested can find out more in Student Affairs, which is located on the second floor in the Centennial Center.