COLUMN: Chartwells promises fall flat

This semester, SFA has partnered with Chartwells to bring dining services to the SFA community. With the new company, SFA advertised better tasting and higher quality food. While the company does seem to bring better tasting food, they also have changed a lot of what students and faculty were used to. 

My first and biggest issue with Chartwells is with the pizza. When a cafeteria serves pizza, you expect them to at least have pepperoni and plain cheese pizza. However, Chartwells chooses to serve specialty pizzas like buffalo chicken. While the exotic pizza is appreciated, I would appreciate having comfort pizzas more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m down for trying new things occasionally, but I know people who strictly only eat the basic pizzas.  

The second huge issue I have is with the allergen station in the dining hall located in the Baker Pattillo Student Center. Its not open like it was before. In the almost two weeks that I have been eating at the dining hall, I’ve only seen it open once or twice. It’s not that I go at weird times either. I go at normal lunch and dinner times. Even if it is open, they don’t do much to show that it is. The TV screens remain off and hardly anyone is behind the counter. 

Which brings me to another big pet peeve – half of the dining staff is gone. Last year, tables were wiped down after every person was done using it. This year, no staff is seen on the floor. Tables are dirty, forks next to the mustard stations are left with condiments all over them, and the cups at the drink station are not restocked. This wouldn’t be as big of an issue as it is if people cleaned up after themselves but let’s get real - students aren’t going to clean up their own mess.  

 Another thing, the cafeterias have been renamed. I refuse to call them by their new names, because Eatery on East and Food Hall 1923 is nothing but a mouthful to say. They will forever remain as the SC and EC to me. To make matters worse, the hours for each dining period were just recently posted rather than at the start of school. Students were left wondering what times they could get dinner and lunch for over a week. I walked in on Tuesday at 4:30 expecting dinner to be served, but I sat for half an hour before I could start eating.  

Maybe not all these issues are Chartwell’s fault, but we didn’t start having them until Chartwells came into play. While we are getting better tasting food, the dining experience on campus is still horrendous due to basic things like cleaning and the variety of food available. I had high hopes for Chartwells, but it seems like they aren’t much different from Aramark. 

(1) comment

Carrie Charley

Hi Renee,

I’d really like the opportunity to address these concerns you and others might be having with dining. While I cannot disagree that things have not been as smooth as we would have liked to have seen, there are serious supply chain and labor issues that continue to exist surrounding the pandemic. I have never seen anyone work harder to address these issues than Chartwells and the Lumberjack Eats team since they arrived July 1. The transformation they made in the old C-store was made in 72 hours! So we know they are capable of amazing things. Each day will get better and there are still some exciting new things…and old favorites coming. You can call the dining halls whatever you like, I just hope someday soon you’ll feel better calling them home!

The first food committee meeting this semester will be Wednesday, September 15 at 2PM in the multimedia room in BPSC 2.106

These are open meetings for anyone to come and share feedback and offer suggestions about the dining program.

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