Food service at RPI gets a bad rap. When The Poly staff interviewed the Grand Marshal and President of the Union candidates for our endorsements issue, topics that often came up were related to Sodexo, their food, their workers, and their prices. It’s agreed amongst staff here that this is one of the most negative parts of Rensselaer.
On Sunday evening, four members of the Editorial Board went to Blitman Residence Commons, and all of us were extremely disappointed. The food was cold and flavorless and with the exception of the french fries that were brought fresh out of the kitchen while we were there—and the meal seemed to be remnants and leftovers from Saturday’s Accepted Student Celebration lunch. They ran out of food during the middle of our meal, and the only food brought out afterwards were the fries. We would have left sooner, but we’d already paid for the meal, and as students we can’t afford to be frivolous with our food.
Based on Sodexo’s own numbers, each meal swipe is worth about $12. The meal—or lack thereof—eaten by the editors at Blitman was worth far less than that, and that includes the staffing and utility bills to prepare it. Quite frankly, there is a large discrepancy in the amount a student pays for a meal plan and the quality and quantity of the product received. Beliefs like these need to be vocalized more in the RPI community, and topics need to be brought to light by Student Government officials such as the Grand Marshal and President of the Union. We hope that the soon-to-be-elected candidates choose to make this an issue.
In addition, a lack of options for freshmen and sophomores forces them to be burdened with the expense of a low quality meal. Our meal at Blitman was reminiscent of many of the problems that dining halls suffer at the hands of Sodexo. Often, the diningware is unclean, and it makes you wonder if it’s even safe to eat the food. A repetitive menu, especially for breakfast, also plague the dining halls.
Other Sodexo facilities are not immune from criticism. Reports of milk expired by days at Jazzman’s and low food quantities at Chester’s in the Rathskeller are among just a few of the complaints students have voiced in recent months.
All in all, we believe that the quality, quantity, and variety, as well as the general attitude Sodexo seems to take in these affairs, create a terrible experience for students.
We implore a manager of Sodexo to write and give us their thoughts, so that we can work to make a better dining experience a reality for all students.