Students and Bon Appétit communicate directly at food forum


Zoe Yang

USG representatives made several suggestions to Bon Appétit in a recent food forum.

Hilda Yang, Staff Reporter

On Nov. 9, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) had a food forum with Bon Appétit. The purpose of this forum was to facilitate communication between students and the staff of Bon Appétit Management and to improve the dining environment on campus.

Representatives from USG made several suggestions to Bon Appétit regarding students’ dietary health and habits. First, the representatives said they felt that the dining conditions for students with allergies and special diets need to be improved. During the forum, Bon Appétit promised to provide more food options for people with special dietary needs and also to label food with information like “gluten-free” or “vegetarian” in the future. The representatives also noticed cross-contamination in the use of utensils. They requested that dining hall staff use separate utensils to serve food for people with different dietary needs. USG Representative Paritosh Joshi mentioned two ways to create a safe dining space that can accommodate different diets: “One is to label the food, another is to increase the food options in the home table and any other stations.”

Representatives also suggested more variety among the on-campus dining options. In the past, Fribley Marché and Leutner Dining Hall tried to bring food from different cultures, such as Caribbean and Brazilian cuisine, to campus. Representatives also sought greater variety for Grab-It and Bag-It! “We want there to be more options, for vegetarians also,” said Ivy Petsinger, USG’s vice president of Student of Life She also thought more fruits such as grapes and local organic apples should be provided in the dining halls.

Representatives also said that improvements can be made in the labeling system and feedback system. At the moment, all calorie information is available online but does not always show up on the food labels. USG representatives suggested that Bon Appétit mark calories on the labels so students can be more aware of their calorie intake.

As for collecting feedback, the comment board in Fribley is more effective in getting suggestions while the one in Leutner is much less used. What the student representatives suggested Bon Appétit do was change the position of the comment board in Leutner so that students can easily notice it.

In addition, Bon Appétit will enhance its “just ask” system, which encourages students to give direct feedback to Bon Appétit staff. Bon Appétit will also provide customized cooking services if as students provide recipes.  

Finally, representatives brought up the possibility of extending the opening hours in Leutner both during weekdays and weekends. The opening hours at Fribley are longer than Leutner’s because there are more dining options for students living in the North Residential Village, including The Den, L3 Grill and other restaurants in Uptown.

However, Joshi said, “The hours in Leutner sometimes don’t actually work out well with students because they have lab or other stuff….The ideal opening time is from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.”