Dining concerns addressed at meeting

Julie Balzarini

SGA’s Concerns and Issues Committee partnered with Dining Services on Feb. 24 to host a Town Hall Meeting in the Italian Kitchen in Dougherty Hall, giving students an opportunity to ask questions and share their concerns with 12 Dining Services directors and managers.

Tim Dietzler, director of Dining Services, opened the well-attended meeting with a few words.

“The Concerns and Issues Committee came to us and thought it would be a good idea for us to get some feedback, and I think it was a great idea” Dietzler said. “Your satisfaction is very important to us.”

Dietzler also discussed some recent changes in the dining halls.

All partially hydrogenated oils have been removed, and a partnership with Monteray Bay Aquarium has been established to ensure that all fish served on campus is sustainable.

“This is important because fishing is unregulated,” Dietzler said. “A lot of fish can be toxic if there are high levels of mercury or if it is farm raised improperly.”

Dietzler also discussed the new compostable program in the Italian Kitchen and the Corner Grille and the University’s new partnership with Coke.

“It is a good arrangement for Villanova,” Dietzler said. “They offered us a much wider variety of products and a partnership going on for seven years, including Athletics.”

Dietzler reminded students that they can now view all nutrition information on the Dining Services Web site and about its Speak Out program, another way for students to ask questions and give feedback to Dining Services on its Web site.

Next, students were given the opportunity to ask Dietzler and the rest of the Dining Services directors and managers questions, and also comment on their experiences in the dining halls.

A student asked if Dining Services plans to expand the sustainability program beyond the Italian Kitchen and Corner Grille.

“We definitely want to,” Dietzler said. “We want to possibly put a pulper in place. That will reduce wet waste and weight so we can send more out to the composting field.”

Dietzler also said that Coke has plans for moving into a refillable bottle program, where each student on a meal plan would be given one.

“That may come in next fall,” Dietzler said.

A student asked if the MPE program will ever be available in the Bartley Exchange.

“We can’t expand the MPE program to there because the kitchen is so small,” Dietzler said. “We couldn’t sustain the volume of business we get there. It would also add cost to the program.”

Several students expressed frustration over items that are not priced. Dietzler ensured them that this problem would be taken care of.

One student wondered why certain Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavors are no longer being sold, and Dietzler said flavors containing partially hydrogenated oils have been removed.

Dietzler also promised to look into making food and prices more consistent across campus.

He also promised to update the menus in the Corner Grille and Italian Kitchen.

The directors and managers from Dining Services and Dietzler were very open to student’s comments and suggestions and promised to make some changes based on the feedback given to them.

“I think this was a great opportunity for the students and Dining Services to come together, understand each other better and make plans for the future,” SGA President Bryan Wagner said.