Improve Bradley University Dining Services

Improve Bradley University Dining Services

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Taylan Cantrell started this petition to Bradley University

This semester began with budget cuts from Bradley and ended in severe quality cuts for students. 

To meet the budget set, the supervisory staff in dining which previously existed was removed entirely, and daily cook staff was severely cut down. Dozens of Aramark employees were left without jobs. This included the closing of Holmes Hall, Stacks, Jerry’s, and Williams dining hall, and a reduction of hours in the Student Center and Center Court. This left us with the option to eat in Center Court, the Student Center, or Geisert dining hall only. 

While unfortunate, many of these cuts initially seemed reasonable due to the reduction in students living on campus and purchasing a meal plan. We as students understand the impact of the pandemic very well. We have lost jobs as well. Been forced to scrape together money to continue our education and survive ourselves. 

The pandemic is not an excuse for what has occurred. 

Since these budget cuts and staff cuts have been implemented there have been:

regular food poisoning occurrences in the student population, 

aramark staff walking out due to working conditions, 

no enforcement of masking or distancing with employees- leading to COVID-19 outbreaks, 

and a noticeable decrease in quality within the food options we as students do have.  

These changes are unacceptable, and the current increased closures are a result of accumulating failures of management in both Bradley University and Aramark. 

Aramark is a fortune 500 company that makes billions of dollars in profit per year.  

Bradley University received an endowment of $324.9 million in 2020.

A meal plan costs $2140 per semester. $134 dollars per week. $19 per day. 

Even if students don’t spend their allotted dining money, each day every student on campus spends $19 with the expectation that they will be given healthy, sanitary, and tasty dining options. 

You cannot tell us as a student body that Bradley University can’t afford to feed their residential students. 

Students living on campus don’t have the option to cook their own food. Unlike similar universities, Bradley has no communal kitchens in the dorms. We rely entirely on the dining options provided by the University. Eating is not an optional expense. 

While we understand that many of the issues in dining cannot be fixed overnight, here is what we would request currently and in the coming semester of management in both Aramark and Bradley:

1) A grant of additional quick cash funds to make up for the closures of dining options over Easter weekend which forced many students to use their own funds (after being forced to purchase a meal plan they couldn’t use) to buy a meal off campus. 

2) An increase in staffing at center court to allow food to be made to order from all three counters, as intended by the facility. Cheaply made pizza left under a warming light for hours at a time is not a quality dining option. 20 gallon budget buckets of ice cream instead of a dining choice for an actual meal is not a quality dining option. 

3) A staff training session for all Aramark employees on food sanitation and safety. Students should not have to worry about getting violently ill from eating food on campus.

4) At least one permanent paid student advisory position in which a Bradley student reviews menus over the summer and collaborates with Aramark on the ingredients and recipes used in the coming school year. This could be an internship position for our dietetics students. Currently dietetics interns with Bradley provide no real input on what is served in the dining halls. Their expertise should be used and respected if they are going to work in the dining hall. 

If Aramark as a vendor cannot provide the quality dining options which students deserve, then we as a student body strongly encourage Bradley university to find a new vendor for our dining services.

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