FSU: End contractual relationship with the Aramark Corporation
FSU: End contractual relationship with the Aramark Corporation
Say no to Aramark’s poor business practices and their corporate monopoly on Florida State University’s (FSU) dining services. Help support ethical, inclusive, and sustainable initiatives and the local economy by signing this petition.
Aramark is a multinational corporation that specializes in providing uniform, food and facilities services to establishments like schools, prisons and workplaces. They are one of the top 200 employers in the nation. Despite their high rank, Aramark has seen backlash over their prison profiteering, low worker wages, and shameful food practices.
Aramark has been increasingly establishing themselves on campuses around the world. Their presence on campus often carries with it a near monopoly of food services. At FSU, Aramark’s exclusive basis contract allows them to maintain an almost full monopoly, which forbids competitors from selling food on campus. Nearly all food on campus is either provided by Aramark, or subcontracted through them. Campus dining halls, restaurants, and catering is all Aramark-controlled, except for very rare exceptions.
Aramark’s near monopoly on campus is very troubling and poorly reflects FSU’s goal of “realizing the full potential of diversity and inclusion”. There is nothing inclusive about forcing students that live in certain residence halls into a “declining-balance” meal-plan contract with Aramark. And it is certainly not inclusive to restrict available food options on campus to solely Aramark facilities, thus limiting the entire FSU population from supporting local businesses and the local economy. This lack of inclusion causes every dollar spent in one of Aramark’s facilities to be swept right out of the community and into the pockets of individuals that profit off the unsustainable system that exploits workers and the environment. Although Aramark boasts about its dedication to sustainable and responsible food sourcing, the food at Aramark is high-cost, low quality, and often processed. Much of it is shipped from far away and is mass-produced using industrialized farming, including factory farms, pesticides, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This kind of food negatively affects the health of Florida State students- physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, as well as the environment.
Aramark has been reigning on FSU’s campus since 2003. In that time, they have managed to increase sales from $7.9M to $29.4M. But what have they done to get to those profits? As greed always suggest, they tuned out the voices of the students and exploited them by:
- Price gouging the meal plans
- Requiring students that live in certain residence halls to purchase a meal plan and limiting cooking options in other residence halls that do not require meal plans
- Demolishing eating establishments with respectable and reliable veg/an options to make way for more American food that poorly pollutes the environment and causes health problems (ie: Salad Creations to Four Rivers)
- Practicing poor waste management by throwing out pounds of food instead of offering a sustainable alternative (like BuffetGo); not establishing compost bins to decrease landfill consumption; contracting more vending machines that increase paper and plastic consumption; etc.
More importantly, Aramark’s contract, which was signed almost 13 years ago, is due to expire in July of 2018. With the competitive Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) Process currently ongoing, we want FSU Management and Aramark to realize how they failed their commitment to maintain ethical, diverse, inclusive, and sustainable practices. Because of this, we are demanding that our voices are heard during this process. We demand FSU to ideally replace Aramark with a new bidder or sign a new contract with Aramark that includes our wants (see below).
- Break the food monopoly on campus by increasing the number of autonomous food service outlets on campus (excluded from the primary campus dining services provider)
- Put more “flex” in “flex bucks” by allowing students to use flex bucks at a diversity of food service outlets on campus and within Tallahassee (specifically including local, sustainable businesses)
- The food service provider must ensure that all students, faculty, staff, and visitors are able to access fully nutritional, wholesome, filling meals regardless of their dietary restrictions.
- This specifically means offering healthy vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free (gf) options at every single dining location on campus
- Includes: vegan/gf condiment options, vegan/gf pizza option at Seminole Pies and all dining halls, exclusive vegan/gf bar at all dining halls, avoiding cross-contamination by using designated utensils and sterilizing workspace, etc.
- An investigation into the impacts of food served on campus, related to health and environmental foot-print, be conducted
- Ensure less food waste and starving students by developing a food program where dining establishments sell their food for a steep discounted price starting an hour prior to closing time
- Similar to ‘Friday Nights at the Union’
- Reduce food waste by adopting the environmentally-sustainable practice of building an industrial-size, functional vermi-compost for the Suwannee Dining Hall, the Fresh Foods Dining Hall, and for the Union Food Court
We challenge FSU and those supporting the student’s perspective on the committee, specifically Advance Party President and Student Body President, Nathan Molina, to hear our grievances and recognize our frustrations. Help us hold FSU accountable for turning a blind eye to Aramark’s questionable and morally-irresponsible practices to increase profits. We reject Aramark’s presence on our campus.
If FSU ignores our voice and Aramark is still chosen as the campus dining services provider, we still expect our wants to be considered for amendments added to the contractual agreement that will push Florida State University in a just, sustainable, and ethical direction.
This petition was written on the behalf of students within the organizations of Ethical Food Association, College Progressives, and Environmental Service Program.