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The future of Sodexo

If there’s one thing that Sodexo is good at, it’s serving students. While not everyone may be interested in all that Sodexo dishes out, there is one thing that students have been craving for years: more meal plan options.

By Fall 2011, that wish will be granted. Four new meal plans have been announced for the new school year: unlimited, or “carte blanche,” 15 meals per week, 12-meals and 7-meals.

Each of these plans includes Eagle Flex dollars to be used in addition to the plan: $50, $175, $250 and $400 respectively.

“The goal is to offer students more options and flexibility,” said Bettie Ann Brigham, Vice President of Student Development. “It’s a recognition of students’ needs.”

One of the major features of the new meal plans is the new hours of service in the dining commons: it will now be open non-stop from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday to Friday. This allows for the addition of new meal periods, Lite Breakfast (9 a.m. to 11 a.m.) and Lite Lunch (2 p.m. to 4 p.m.).

The unlimited meal plan is of particular interest. Those on this plan can swipe their E-card at the dining commons as often as they want, provided they are there for separate meal periods.

Incoming first-years are required to be on this meal plan, but it seems likely that many upperclassmen will enjoy it as well.

Every meal plan option costs the same – $2,125 per semester. The reason for this, according to Brigham, is so that the process of switching between plans will be easier for students. By making the prices the same, the federal package for financial aid will not change between plans, thereby not creating extra charges for students should they choose to change between semesters.

All meal plans must be changed 20 days prior to the start of the semester.

The plan as we know it has been in the works since last fall semester, but Brigham had been asking for such a plan to be drawn up since Fall 2007. She and President David Black met with Sodexo representatives Ed Collins and Reza Rafizadeh, along with Eastern’s Sodexo general manager Mike Kenis, over the course of this year to discuss the new plans.

“A combo of me asking all these years and Sodexo having the capability to do it allowed us to do so (make the new meal plans) this year,” Brigham said.

Thus, after adding student input from 2007 to the mix, the new meal plans were created, “a plus,” in Brigham’s opinion, that has been created for “students first.”

But this is not the only thing that is new for Sodexo. As of September 2011, Sodexo will be donating $1.2 million to the University for the construction of the new student center.

“A big part of the student center will be the dining commons,” Kenis said about the donation. “Sodexo’s very excited about the new facility and having new equipment, tables and set-up.”

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