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Caf Forum encourages student input

Members of PLNU’s cafeteria staff demonstrated their willingness to listen to and work with students’ opinions about the Caf, on a panel in the middle of the dinner hour on April 8.

This forum was organized for students wishing to submit suggestions on how the Caf can improve the quality of its food, students’ experiences while eating and the overall ease with which students can maintain healthy diets.

Throughout the forum, students were able to question members of the panel and provide their preferences for various questions from the Cafeteria staff. One question asked students if they believed food samples would help reduce the amount of food that is wasted each day.

Although Sophomore Stephanie Rentería she was unable to stay for the entire forum, she felt that it provided a better opportunity for communication between staff members and students. She was excited about the possibility of breakfast more than once a day.

“I love breakfast and think it’s one of the best mealtimes in the Caf,” said Rentería. “I’m excited, but I know some people who don’t want to go to the Caf because of that. I think the staff is putting in all the effort they can and showing they care, but students also need to put in that effort and go to forums. People get upset with the Caf but don’t try to notice that the Caf puts in effort to try and improve itself.”

In order to submit their opinions, students were given a number to send text messages with the answer they preferred. The number of votes for each option, such as whether the Caf should provide more fruits and vegetables, was displayed on a projector screen that had been hung over the stage. Overall, students appeared to respond well to the opportunity to give their opinions. Although few students stood up to question the panel members, many of them sent questions in via text message or social media sites such as twitter and Facebook.

One student requested that Huevos rancheros, a food commonly served in the Caf on Wednesday mornings, be provided more often. Another asked that napkin dispensers be made available to students sitting at tables on the outside patio. In each instance, the head chef and other members of the panel responded by saying that they would be more than happy to look into and possibly implement the suggestions provided. This reflects the statement made on Sodexo’s website, which states that members of the staff are more than willing to listen to any complaints or suggestions students may have.

“Members of the Food Service Management Team are always available during meals to help you.” the website states. “Get to know your Dining Room Managers, and feel free to share your comments, suggestions or questions. We appreciate your feedback, and want to be a part of making your dining service what you want it to be!”

Throughout the forum, students appeared more than willing to give feedback on how their experiences in the Caf can be improved. At least 30 individuals responded to each successive question about Caf improvements.

“The fact they had the forum shows some students are reaching out and some fill out comment cards,” said Rentería. “I have a friend who made a group on Facebook to get together and talk about what they didn’t like and talked to [Sodexo] about it, which helped a lot.”