New Dining Services partner to be announced soon

Madeline Zupko

With the goal of becoming a healthier campus in mind, Kent State Dining Services will select a new company to partner with by the end of this semester.

“The partner will be held to key performance indicators that will align with this goal,” said Shay Little, vice president of the Division of Student Affairs.“Kent State will become the healthiest campus on Earth by capitalizing on the talents and resources of its students, faculty and staff while leveraging partnerships such as the dining partner to support the priorities of the Kent State of Wellness.”

Sodexo, the current partner of Dining Services, has a contract set to expire May 31, which means the selected partner will begin service of the university on June 1.

After three days of presentations by the competing companies — Sodexo, Aramark and Chartwells — students and staff were given the option to take part in a survey to aid in the decision process.

“I want healthier food, but I don’t want a higher price. We’re more concerned on how much we’re spending,” said Emily McVeigh, a junior hospitality major.

Little said the companies were informed in the initial request for proposal that the cost of food items cannot be increased in the first year, but they can be decreased.

“We expect the selected partner to leverage their resources and expertise to keep a high value for students while aligning their program to the university’s strategic roadmap,” Little said.

During the presentations, each company pitched to students and staff their vision for the future of Dining Services (see chart for specifics).

“There needs to be a balance between healthy and unhealthy foods,” said Amy Borgen, a sophomore psychology major. “As college kids, we don’t always want healthy.”

Borgen said she would be happy with Sodexo as the new partner, but enjoyed what Aramark had to offer. Borgen said she would “love … the fully licensed Starbucks.”

“There never seems to be enough coffee on campus,” said Harrison Sorm, a freshman biology major.

He added that he would also like to see a fully licensed Starbucks on campus.

“No matter how healthy you make campus, due to the consumer demand, if people wanna eat fried everything, they’re going to,” Sorm said. “It’s all about what people want.”

Madeline Zupko is a general assignment reporter, contact her at [email protected]