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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Letters to the editor

Published: October 24, 2008
Section: Opinions

To the Editor:

[In response to “Students organize coalition for Aramark Dining Reform” in last week’s Hoot], no different than in past years our contract is reviewed on an annual basis. We work closely with University administration, students and the rest of the community to ensure we provide the best dining experience possible and exceed customer expectations.

We work tirelessly as a team to improve dining operations on an on going basis. We utilize face to face student meetings, on line surveys, focus groups, comment cards and meet frequently with the student lead Dining committee to continuously create positive change in dining.

Survey results over the past years continue to increase based on all the great things we continue to introduce in dining. I encourage you to reach out to members of the dining committee (Jenna Brofsky), Student Senate ( President Jason Gray), members of SEA or Best including Professor Laura Goldin (professor of sustainability), and University administration to get a better understanding of how responsive and reactive we are to student concerns and desires.

As far as labor issues are concerned we are one of if not the largest employers of student workers on campus, paying some of the highest wage rates.

We work closely with our labor union Local 26 and abide by our collective bargaining agreement. Management meets frequently with Union shop stewards and provide numerous employee incentive, reward and recognition programs.

For example, in the last few years, based on collaborative efforts with the above mentioned we have introduced the following to Dining:

1. C-Meal program. Meals can be used at EBB, POD and Quiznos

2. Extended hours at Usdan brunch and lunch to meet changing demanding schedules

3. Ollies Diner

4. Quiznos

5. POD store (added selection, variety and choice)

6. Sushi station in Usdan

7. Java City at Schneider

8. Cage free eggs option in all dining locations

9. Composting of dining hall waste. We project to compost over 400 tons

10. Recycle mania national competition scoring 8th and 9th in the state of Massachusetts in various categories

11. WOK station in Sherman

12. Kosher store in Sherman

13. Expansion of vegan/vegetarian options across campus.

14. Trans fat free conversion on fryer oil. Trans fat free cookie option

15. Increase in the use of local produce/vendors. The Boulevard salad bar is strictly local and or organic

16. Fair trade coffee

17. EBB at Shapiro campus center

18. New meal plans from combo, to flex, to all points to wise plan (for commuters) there is something for everyone to meet various lifestyles and preferences. You can now also purchase new Dining dollars on line at our webs site.

19. Equivalency values in Usdan increase every year.

20. Students choose Brandeis for our ability to meet the needs of students with food allergies. Our full time Nutritionist Laura O Gara works closely with students to ensure their dietary needs are met.

This is only a short list but I wanted you to get a sense of all the great things that are happening in dining. I encourage you to visit our web site at Brandeis. campus and learn even more about dining.

I encourage students to email me directly or stop by my office anytime to say hello, voice concerns or say thanks for all the new and exciting initiatives.

– Michael Newmark

Aramark Director of Dining Services