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Let your voice be heard

Submitted by Ricky Harris on November 15, 2011 – 6:54 pmNo Comment

This year has been an interesting one for changes on campus. The new dining plans have caused quite a stir in terms of ticked off students, faculty and staff.

It’s no secret that I have supported the idea of meal plans since it first came up last academic year. I saw it as an opportunity to build a better community here on campus. But whether you supported it or not, it’s our reality and we must live with it.

The options in the Diamond Cafe haven’t been without drawbacks. And I am not innocent of complaining my fair share. The difference with me complaining and others complaining is simple — taking action. Sodexo officials can’t be expected to fix something if they don’t know that it’s broken.

I have always been a supporter of people having their own opinions, but only if they can back it up with fact and if they are willing to act to make a difference.

Some things we can’t avoid. Long lines, sporadic bad attitudes, running out of ranch dressing on the salad bar. People have to understand that some situations arise that just can’t be avoided. No one can plan perfectly to avoid such situations. I said in a opinion article earlier this year that people just need to take a deep breath and chill out. That remains true.

The biggest problem I see happening now is people complaining about food options, how things are cooked and things of that nature. I even complain to friends when the food isn’t what I expected and that I wanted French dressing on the salad bar.

Sodexo General Manager Curtis Williams and a few of his employees participated in a question and answer session a couple months ago. I went to that meeting and confirmed something that I thought was true. Everyone was complaining about dining issues, but not to the people who can make a difference. Students brought up things such as broccoli not being cooked enough all the way to complaints about the options of meal plans that are available. I was even given the opportunity to ask for that French dressing that I wanted. The Sodexo representatives listened to everyone’s concerns, took note, and explained what they could and could not change. The discussion was civil and everyone left feeling as though some common ground had been reached. The problem was that only around 10 students showed up to the discussion. This was probably because the event was only advertised in the East Residence Hall, but I can only speculate. Maybe Sodexo or another organization should host the same sort of forum and advertise it to the entire campus.

Nevertheless, I know many people will continue to complain. But I ask ­— no, urge you to talk to the Sodexo folks. They aren’t our enemies. They legitimately care about what we think and what we want and they will do whatever their power allows them to make each of us happy.

Oh, by the way,  I got the French dressing I asked for.

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