As many returning students and faculty have realized, our very own campus-dining hall has reinvented its bland white dishware with vibrant new options. Hal McLaughlin, the experienced head of Sodexo with eleven years under his belt, gives Juniata college the inside scoop on what the transformation is all about and what can be anticipated for the future.
What is the reason for the change in the cafeteria?
The change has been in the process for the past three years. Some of the plates were as old as 1969, when Baker first opened. Granted, there have been replacements; but a lot of the plates were out-of-date. The college and Sodexo work together to agree on new expenses; like the soft serve ice cream and the china teacups. We switched from 20 ounces to 16 ounces to save on waste and space.
What is the difference between the latest dishes and the old dishes?
There is a cosmetic difference as well as a refinement aspect. I do not enjoy eating off of black baskets and wax paper liners as much as the next person. Having an assortment of colorful dishes makes the meal look more appetizing.
How many new and different dishes have been implemented into Baker?
We ordered 600 fruit bowls, 1300 salad/ bread and butter plates, 1300 9inch lunch plates, and 1600 large dinner plates. As well as a huge silverware order, because a lot of it tends to disappear. We really try to evolve to fit the students’ needs. We make an effort to reinvent what works best.
Can we expect to see more changes in the future?
Mainly, we are trying to focus on the sustainability factor for the future. We have tray-less Tuesdays because it cuts down on product waste of chemicals, electricity, water, and food. Ultimately, my goal is for the overall meal plan cost to drop for students with all of the savings. Students can also expect to see the white china that is in storage, to come into use in the Eagle’s Landing upstairs, eventually. First, we would have to install a dishwashing machine upstairs and such; but again, it would be more sustainable in the long run.
Sam Stroup ’12, Juniata Online-Journalist