Sodexo’s progress to be evaluated by team

A team is being created to evaluate Sodexo’s progress on new goals outlined in the recent contract.

Spearheaded by Assistant Dean for Business Operations Dennis DePaul, the Dining Implementation Team will meet monthly to discuss Sodexo’s progress. Members of the team will also work on projects that could include student surveys or small research papers.

Alison Nihart, assistant for the UVM Food Systems Initiative, said that the group was created following the extensive proposals listed in the contract.

Some goals for the coming years include transparent food sourcing, focus on using seasonally available produce, certified fair trade ingredients and increased affordability.

“There needed to be some way to make sure that the ideas Sodexo proposed actually happened,” Nihart said. “It turns out that they put stuff in the contract or the proposal that five years down the line people may have forgotten.”

UVM is already pushing the edge in terms of sustainable, healthy food and their progress on the Real Food Challenge, Nihart said. The purpose of the group is not to be critical of Sodexo, but to help UVM dining continue to provide quality services in line with UVM’s values.

One of the other goals in the new contract is to further incorporate students into the dining program through internships, research and social justice issues related to food.

In line with these goals, the Dining Implementation Team will also include a student representative.

“The request for proposals was a pretty groundbreaking process because it incorporated so many students and all the sustainability values,” Nihart said. “We’re making sure that the contract really accomplished what we set out to do.”