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Aramark makes dining reforms

Published: October 31, 2008
Section: Front Page


Students are now able to use their meals to purchase soy milk, Dannon yogurt and vegan noodle options prepared on site at the P.O.D. Market, along with the bananas, Bistro Salad, Roasted Turkey sandwich and the Tuna Sandwich at Einstein’s Bros Bagels, Dining services announced last Thursday.

The expansion of the current C-Meal, which has already gone into effect, comes as part of a list of dining reforms announced by Dining Services as a result of biweekly meetings with the Student Dining Committee which have taken place throughout the semester.

Other reforms include bringing the “5 and 5” menu, Deis Dip, and Sweet Potato Fries back to The Stein menu; having cage free eggs options at all dining locations; posting nutritional facts at Quiznos and Einstein Bros Bagels; adding low sodium sauce to the Wok Station at Sherman Dining Hall; including eggs and omelets made to order at Sherman Dinning hall starting at 9:30 on the weekends and introducing a new sandwich and salad cycle, including the Italian Sub for Usdan Boulevard’s Kosher To-Go program.

Student Dining Committee Co-Chair Jenna Rubin ’11 said that the committee made “what counts as a meal” their largest priority.

While the committee did make some headway on expanding the C-Meal, Rubin said that ultimately the committee’s goal is to “make everything that’s a meal count as a meal.”

Rubin said that the committee had originally hoped to make all salads, yogurts, fruit cups, and sandwiches count as a meal at Einstein Bros Bagels, as well as all pre-prepared food and frozen microwavable meals sold at the P.O.D. Market.

This would make dining easier on those with eating restrictions, such as being vegan or kosher, and would make dining more convenient.

“Grabbing a lean cuisine and curling up in your room to study during finals is great in the winter, but you can’t do that on a meal,” Rubin said.

Rubin also said that the committee wanted what counts as a meal to be consistent throughout all dining options, citing the fact that while in Usdan students can buy yogurt parfaits and fruit cups with a meal, at Einstein’s, they have to use points.

“It’s also a health issue. In Usdan you could buy five bags of cookies and that counts as a meal but at Einstein’s you can’t count a yogurt parfait or a fruit cup,” she said. “You can get a bagel, but that doesn’t fill a meal, but then your only options were to get two bagels. We want you to be able to get a bagel and some fruit.”

One possible reason why Dining Services did not concede to all of the committee’s requests is cost.

According to Rubin, for every item that counts as a meal that is not made by Aramark, Brandeis’ food supplier, Aramark must pay a commission to the company that produces it, making it less cost effective for a fruit cup at Einstein’s to count on a meal than one made by Aramark at Usdan.

Rubin’s Dining Committee Co-Chair Jenna Brofsky ’10 speculated that the commission is probably the reason why Einstein’s Bistro Salad is the only salad to count on a meal under the reforms.

“It’s the only salad without meat,” Brofsky said. “Meat’s expensive.”

“Dining services has their reasons, and we have ours,” Rubin said. “It’s a give and take, and it’s a political process.”

The committee had less success in expanding the dining halls’ hours. While Brofsky said the committee still hopes to extend Einstein’s Saturday morning hours, the country’s failing economy posed an obstacle.

“We’ve had to get creative,” she said. “We have to ask them to change hours around instead of just adding hours. We’ll just have to continue to push for it next semester.”