Chartwells generates complaints and inaction from students

By Sara Scheler

February 27, 2013

It is macaroni and cheese day in the dining hall. The line is out the door and a dozen or so students wait expectantly for 15 minutes or more with their plates outstretched to receive the gooey, golden carbs. Meanwhile, the salad bar, filled to the brim with plump tomatoes and crisp lettuce, receives notably less attention.

Director of Dining Services Kimberly Nickelberry said there is a frustrating disconnect between what students ask for and what the majority of them actually eat. Nickelberry said the chefs can barely keep up with the demand for fried foods

“It would be easier for me to take away the salad bar than the chicken fingers,” she said.

Some students, like post-baccalaureate Che Smith, say the chicken fingers, cakes and macaroni and cheese are the best items on the meal plan. Freshman Mariana Bojorquez said she likes the macaroni and the omelets, but that nothing else in particular seems to stick out.

Complaints can be heard daily in the dining hall. “Can’t they just make normal food?” is a question constantly heard from table to table. Some days are better than others, but many days, students can be seen scraping mounds of un-eaten food into the trash.

Students also gripe about the preparation methods.

“Sometimes the fish is bad, and sometimes they burn stuff,” Bojorquez said.

“Sometimes the chicken is a little dry, so it’s really hit or miss,” senior Davied McCullough explained.

Questions surrounding the nutritional value of Chartwells food at Dominican are another major source of inquiry and complaint. As she picked at her half-eaten chicken patty, senior Michelle Abramowicz said she does not like the food on campus.

“It’s so unhealthy,” she said. “Everything is in grease or butter.”

Abramowicz said she tries to eat healthy but usually ends up eating a salad for lack of a better option.

To make matters worse, some students say they have gotten sick from the food on campus.

“I stick to the stuff that I know won’t make me feel gross,” Abramowicz said.

Bojorquez said she has gotten sick from food in the Cyber Café. The running joke is that freshmen need to build up immunity to the food.

However, some students are easier to please. McCullough said the food has improved over the three years he has been a student at Dominican.

“They have put effort into making things better,” McCullough said.

Smith agrees with McCullough, saying for the most part that the food is pretty healthy and there is a good variety.

Student Government Association President Marco Rodriguez does not think there is anything wrong with the food on campus. He is a commuter so he only eats on campus about once a week.

“I have never had a complaint,” he said. “I love the food here.”

Although Nickelberry hears a lot of complaints, her many attempts at involving students have been frustrated by lack of student interest. She has tried to involve the students as much as she can.

“I spend the first two weeks of each semester outside the dining areas talking to the students,” she said.

This year, Nickelberry handed out comment cards, created a Facebook page for them to “like”, and even bribed them with candy so they would fill out a survey. To her disappointment, however, few students take the opportunity to give their feedback.

“Student participation here is like zero,” she said.

Nickelberry offers monthly Dine with the Director events, where students can voice their opinions and enjoy a free dinner. Last month only one student attended the event. The month before, no one showed up.

McCullough said he thought the event was reserved for Student Government Association representatives. Bojorquez was not aware of the event but said she might go in the future. Abramowicz said she is graduating soon and thinks other students should do something if they care.