The aroma of crunchy, fried tacos intermingling with spicy chicken tikka masala drifts toward my nose — an exotic taste hovering between Mexican and Indian cuisine. I scoop a bite of the messy mishmash into my mouth and pause in confusion. This new food is weird.
That is how I feel about the food served by Stony Brook University’s new food service vendor, Sodexo. As of July 1, 2015, Sodexo rolled onto campus and revamped the food system.
But is it for the worse or the better?
When I describe the cuisine as weird, I mean that my overall opinion is ambiguous. I was initially disappointed when I heard that Wendy’s was leaving Campus Dining, but I am satisfied with its fast-food replacement, The Grille. I miss my custom-made chicken alfredo pasta at Roth Café, yet the Moqueca de Camarao at the new Latino place is not too shabby. However, I still crave the diverse taste of the SAC’s Native Spice and the comfort of its yogurt bar.
In other words, I do not think Sodexo provides totally terrible food, but there are still problems that need to be addressed. Students are still unsatisfied with the food quality/service. When you have unhappy customers, changes need to be made.
No one is going to be perfectly content with the food that any college campus serves. I cannot vouch for the quality of all SBU’s campus-served food, but I can live with it. And if something is seriously wrong with a meal, I will contact a manager or text “tellsbueats” and let them know the issue (thankfully, I have not had to resort to that yet).
To stay in touch with other students’ experiences with the current campus dining, I also check “SBU Food Complaints/Improvements,” a Facebook group page that provides student ideas and concerns about the University’s on-campus food. There, I have seen positive, negative and humorous posts; a disturbing image of a band-aid cemented to a tomato slice in a campus salad, another of a brownie labeled with zero nutritional value and an upbeat comment about fake vegan meatballs in the Union. This Facebook page is an invaluable source of information about SBU’s food.
Yes, sometimes Facebook posts on SBU Food Complaints/Improvements seem to be ignored. It is also true that some food does not always improve (some meals are outrageously expensive, but that is a whole other story). However, all I advocate is that you try to improve your own situation, and if that does not work, work with the resources you already have. Try a different dish, or frequent another dining hall and see if you like the choices there. Cook your own meals and maybe share your creations with others, like sophomore computer science major Daniel Scanteianu and sophomore physics major Andreas Stamatakis of Toscanini College, who run weekly dinners in their building called “Dinners by Dandreas.”
Whatever the case may be, try to stay positive. Try different foods, and do not simply sulk when there is a problem. Given some time, Sodexo may not turn out to be so bad after all.