Image from ERAU Prescott
As soon as they step on campus, freshmen are quickly taught that the dining options are not all equal. World of Wings (WoW) and Rocket Deli are traditional favorites, while Amelia’s and Scholars’ also hold a relatively solid reputation. However, students seem to acquire an aversion to the main dining hall on campus: Earhart’s.
For years students have told horror stories about the food served at Earhart’s. In summary, the food traditionally had both bad taste and often did not digest very well. Thus, students often choose the other dining options over Earhart’s when they have the chance.
This is not only inconvenient for students, but is also perceived as a waste of the money they had spent on their meal plan. Luckily, the Student Government Association (SGA) has begun work on improving the quality of not only Earhart’s, but all dining services as a whole at ERAU.
On Oct. 15, SGA Treasurer Hunter Langemo and a team of students from SGA’s auxiliary program Student Outlook Action Resources (SOAR) met with leaders of Sodexo who are in charge of the food service on campus. Those who attended the meeting came ready to advocate for change. As Langemo said, “The students who came to the foodservice committee were honest. They weren’t just trashing on the guy [Sodexo representative], but they were honest. And I think that’s important because a lot of times, they’re not going to speak up to normal members of Sodexo they’re just going to gripe to their friends, and nothing’s going to get done when they gripe to their friends.”
Throughout the meeting, students brought up a wide variety of concerns which were all met with understanding and consideration from Sodexo members. Some of these concerns sparked change almost immediately.
After learning from the students at the meeting that virtually no students are aware that the dining hall is currently hiring student employees, Sodexo placed signs advertising the job. Similarly, students mentioned that it was sometimes difficult to read the menu on the screens at Earharts. The very next day, the font size on the screen had increased and was much easier to read.
Other points brought up from the students will require more planning and action before they take place. For example, Langemo stated, “One big thing we’re pushing for is getting a dispenser for the plasticware. I don’t think that would be an overnight process but it would be nice to eventually see that.” As a whole, the students made it clear that they were upset with the amount of waste coming from the dining hall and this utensil dispenser is just one of many solutions they would like to see happen, even if it will take some extra effort on behalf of those involved.
Additionally, students pointed out that there are a very limited amount of dining options for those who are vegan or vegetarian. Adapting the menus to accommodate those with these lifestyles will also take more effort and planning, but students were adamant that this was a change they would like to happen.
As time goes on, Langemo said that he and those on the food service committee plan to “just keep pushing for the things that we want to see. So if there’s something long-term, big picture like food waste that isn’t overnight, then we’ll keep pushing for big measures like that.”
If you have a recommendation or concern regarding the food service on campus, email Hunter Langemo at [firstname.lastname@example.org].