No differences between UVM dining and Sodexo

Sodexo will be facing big changes in the next five years following feedback from students, staff and faculty.

Many students are unaware there is no difference between UVM dining and Sodexo, they said.

“We are Sodexo, that’s our company,” said Harris Millis manager Susan Cathrall. “We’re just referred to as UVM dining on campus.”

“This was something that was decided,” Neil Paes, night supervisor at the Marketplace, said. “This has nothing to do with the contract. We don’t want to dilute the brand name of UVM.”

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Kate Hayes serves french fries Oct. 29. UVM and Sodexo are working together to bring more local, organic and fair-trade food on campus. OLIVER POMAZI/The Vermont Cynic

“So we work for UVM and UVM wanted us to make a UVM experience. We work for UVM as contractors and we respect and are here to serve the client [UVM],” Paes said.

Sodexo operates unlimited dining locations Cook Commons, Harris Millis and Redstone Dining in addition to retail dining locations all over campus.

UVM also allows local vendors on campus like the Skinny Pancake, New World Tortilla and Ben and Jerry’s to better serve the student population, although all locations still accept points from the meal plan. Sodexo provides services to 17 dining locations at UVM.

“There are definitely different dining halls you go to for different parts of the day,” first-year Sarah Jensen said. “I usually come [to Harris Millis] for breakfast, [Redstone Unlimited] is good for dinner, and Cook is best for lunch.”

UVM and Sodexo have been partners for the past 60 years.

UVM is working toward completing the Real Food Challenge — defined as having 20 percent of dining hall food be local, fair-trade, humane or organic by 2020.

Sodexo recently renewed their contract with UVM and included a 46-page “Request for Proposals” document that integrated feedback from the UVM community on food quality, ethics, sustainability and local food.

UVM has continually worked with Sodexo in order to fulfill the needs of a local, fair-trade, humane and organic diet. While many college campus food providers have a reputation for supplying unhealthy food, Sodexo has been making strides toward creating a more sustainable diet for students.

Despite the changes Sodexo has made, not all students agree that it’s enough.

“I thought they were going to have more healthy and organic food but it seems like a lot of mass-produced food,” first-year Aryn Hall said. “When I was taking a tour, they were like ‘oh, we care so much about this’. I do get that they care, but I wish they put more time into it.”