Students can expect to be served by Sodexo for at least nine more years after former NSU president Dr. Henderson extended Sodexo’s contract in March 2016. The extension came with the understanding that Sodexo would establish a coffee shop, which they delivered on last year.
Before extending the contract, Jennifer Kelly, assistant to the Provost for Academic Support and Auxiliary Services, said some Student Government Association members were consulted. Otherwise, it is unknown if more student input was taken into consideration when the contract was extended.
“Dr. Henderson was always in communication with students,” Kelly said when asked if student feedback had a role in the contract extension.
General Manager of NSU Dining Services Steve Kauf said Sodexo and NSU conducted student focus groups when designing the coffee shop that later became Café DeMon, and he hopes to continue receiving student input on important decisions.
“I think they need to communicate with students more actively,” theatre student Lexi Mancuso said of Sodexo. “After all, a good bit of students are required to have a meal plan.”
Kauf stressed they are making efforts to feed 4,000 people, and anyone can visit his office to offer suggestions. Currently, Sodexo hopes to reboot Student Culinary Council food committee meetings by the spring semester. These meetings are held by Sodexo to receive feedback.
“If someone says, ‘The food sucks,’ that doesn’t help me very much,” Kauf said. “But we are constantly looking to change. Come to my office, make suggestions – let us know.”
Mancuso said as the NSU student population grows, so do the dietary needs of Sodexo’s customers. She emphasized being a vegetarian can make it difficult to have a meal plan, though she complimented The Green Corner, a vegetarian dining option in Vic’s.
Kauf said Sodexo is looking for staff to focus on improving The Green Corner.
“If you eat at the same place 21 times a day, it’s going to be boring,” Kauf said. “Communicate with us; I’m happy to receive your feedback.”
With nine more years ahead of Sodexo, students can offer feedback concerning their dining options and food quality by visiting Steve Kauf’s office next to The Grill in the Friedman Student Union. Students can also send suggestions through the NSU Dining Services website, through comment cards at each dining location or through the annual student satisfaction survey conducted by Sodexo.