We Do Try Rather Hard

I was sorry to hear about Laura-Claire Corson’s plight in her article regarding UVM Dining. Ms. Corson’s experience could have been different had she known that each dining facility at UVM has a manager whose primary concern is customer service. I’m sure this may come as a surprise to many, but UDS is very familiar with Celiac Sprue as they are with many other dietary concerns. The manager of Simpson Dining Hall, Jeremy Metcalf, spent a good deal of time last year working with a student in that facility who suffered from the same allergy. It was not always easy for Jeremy and his staff to provide what the student needed, but that is after all our job. We take these requests and view them as opportunities to learn more about our own business. There are many students who have approached us regarding food issues whether they are dietary restrictions relating to a medical condition, a religious choice, or simply a personal preference. We make an effort take action on each and every request.

All these needs/preferences are important to us. Please understand it would make little sense from a freshness and fiscal standpoint to have EVERY possible food available to satisfy EVERY special need ALL THE TIME. The student who came to us last year with Celiac Sprue allergy knew that she would be eating the majority of her meals at Simpson and simply made the necessary special arrangements with Jeremy. If the need is made known to us, we make it our business to provide. If we are approached with a dietary situation that we feel we need a fuller understanding of, we have a close working relationship with the Campus Nutritionist at the Center for Health and Wellbeing, Candace Polzella.

Candace has been very helpful in both the guidance of our efforts as well as the illumination for the student as to how they may satisfy their needs with the services we provide. Dining Services does not exist in a vacuum. We rely and welcome the feedback of students, faculty and staff alike to determine the shape of food service on campus. We have comment cards in all our locations that we take the time to respond to. The management is always available to answer questions and act on specific needs. The Dining Services web site http//:uds.uvm.edu lists up-to-date menu information for most of the thirteen food service locations on campus.

There is also the opportunity on the web site for you to ask any question you would like. These questions are taken seriously and are all answered. Counseling students when they need to make choices resulting from lifestyle, living location or economic restrictions is a big part of what we do. In essence we are charged with providing a service and we take that responsibility seriously. In turn, we would expect from the purchaser of that service an honest dialogue regarding expectations and needs. How else can we effectively provide? Please, in the future, rather than painting an immediate “you don’t care about me” picture of Dining Services, I ask that Ms. Corson or anyone with an issue regarding UVM Dining Services would first contact us and give us the opportunity to learn more about their needs and reach a mutual solution that will enable us to do our best in satisfying those needs. The Dining Services extension on campus is 6-4664. You can reach me there (or on the web) or you can get the name and extension of the manager of the facility you would like to work with.