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March 20, 2014

Dining services welcomes student feedback

By Joshua Hoover

Cleveland State University has 11 different places on campus to eat. Despite that, some of the most common complaints students have deal with dining services. Common complaints include a lack of variety for food, the hours that the various locations are open and the cost of eating on campus being too high.

“There’s not a lot of vegetarian options,” said Liz Reink, a student who regularly eats on campus. “Also, a lot of the food is not prepared well. The macaroni-and-cheese is just noodles with nacho cheese on them.”

“I wish the cafeteria was open until 9 or 9:30 p.m.,” said sophomore Chase Beam. “I wish that there was more variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Allison Dumski, Student Government Association president, is looking into solutions to these complaints.

One major complaint that Dumski is looking for a solution to is that many of the dining options on campus close too early for students with night classes.

Dumski said that in order for places to stay open late at night, there have to be students using them frequently enough to keep them open.

Director of Dining Services, Jim Razzante, said that the hours for the various dining locations on campus are reviewed each year and are adjusted according to the business the location is receiving. Last fall, the Atrium Cafe on the first floor of the Student Center began staying open until 3:30 p.m. during the week due to the demand.

“We need to increase awareness of what is open late,” Dumski said.

Dumski is also trying to increase the visibility of the various vending machines around campus, as she has found several machines that she didn’t know existed because there are no clear signs showing where to find them at.

Dumski is also working on getting the kitchen area in the Urban Studies building fixed up. By fixing this it will provide a place for students with evening classes to heat up any food they may bring from home.

Razzante said, that in order to control the costs of the meal plans, Dining Services needs to control their costs as well.

Dining Services has a production program that is used to track the amount of food being consumed on campus. This data is then used both to try to provide meals that students will enjoy and to try to control waste.

“We do monotony breakers on the weekends,” said Christopher Hall, the marketing and communications manager. “We offer things like peanut butter and jelly bars and cupcake decorating.”

Currently, there are no plans to allow students to use their meal swipes at other restaurants, as there has not been a lot of traffic when programs like that have been tried in the past.

“We try to keep a variety here so they don’t have to go somewhere else,” Hall said.
For students that are here for evening classes, Bar Uno is open until midnight, Fenn Shoppe is open until 10 p.m, Outtakes is open until 9 p.m. and the Wheat Street Deli is open until 6:30 p.m, as ways to provide a hot meal for commuter students.

Both Razzante and Hall stressed that students need to be willing to communicate with Dining Services, both about what they like and do not like.

“We’re very open to listening,” Hall said. “We can’t fix something if we don’t know that it’s broken.”
Some students are happy with what Dining Services has been doing.

“Generally, it’s been a good experience so far,” said freshman Brandon Le. “The only reason that people get sick of it is because it’s an everyday thing.”

Students can contact Dining Services through their website, or by leaving a message on the board as they exit the cafeteria.