TWO SIDES TO BU’s DINING COUNTER

By Devin Mulvey, Contributing Writer

     Student complaints are on the rise at Bloomsburg University regarding meal offerings available through on-campus dining. There are two competing priorities, more religious-friendly fare and the efficiency required in serving thousands of students.

     The students’ primary objections boil down to a surplus of pork available on campus. It is an issue for the observant Muslim students, as their faith strictly forbids them from consuming any form of pork. They argue that it is not fair to require paying for a meal plan if they are unable to enjoy the food offerings.

     However, staff opinions from the other side of the counter differ. According to the Executive Chef of Bloomsburg University, Jesse Reeves, “There is chicken every day, our menu is only 25 percent pork and 50 percent chicken.” Additionally, Reeves shared that the meals are planned out a solid year in advance.

     A lack of awareness of dining options may be contributing to the problem as well. Student worker at Roongo’s, Zora, states, “Most people when they come in don’t even know that we have turkey sausage and bacon for breakfast because they won’t tell you.”

     Though, the finer details of the students’ grievances go beyond the university’s menu selection. BU student and practicing Muslim, Ozlem Yilmaz, expressed the difficulty in getting serving utensils swapped out after being crossed contaminated. Yilmaz states, “If you ask them to … they get an attitude.”

     Yilmaz is not the only student experiencing these difficulties. The affected population encompasses over 100 active members of the Muslim community on BU’s campus. It is unclear whether or not the university plans on formally addressing these student’s complaints.

     Reeves’ response to the matter revealed a wholly different perspective, in which the problems stem from a lack of communication. He states, “It would be ideal for students to choose exactly what they want, but it wouldn’t be very efficient”. He questions why students aren’t more proactive than reactive, as they are more prone to sharing complaints online than coming in to talk to him.   

      Frustrated by what he perceives to be a misunderstanding, Reeves emphasizes that the dinning services on campus are engaged in making sure that students are getting a good, nutritious meal that they enjoy, which may necessitate, “packing meals for students.”

    Reeves implicit suggestion of face to face interaction was reflected in Yilmaz’s own solution. She proposes that the staff at least meet with the students requesting for a change. She states, “We’re not asking for good meals every week just something edible for every student”.