E&H Dining Services Aim to “Make Sure Everyone Has Something to Eat” Amid New Challenges


Taylor Simmons

The inside halls of Van Dyke, the home of the main Cafeteria on E&H campus, is now regularly full of students lined up out of the door with two Sodexo employees scanning student IDs inside the doors.

Longer lines and wait times for on-campus dining locations are part of a new normal for E&H students this year as E&H dining services face new challenges with feeding everyone on campus.

Upwards of eleven hundred students join the Stinger community for the 2021 fall semester, which includes a 63% increase in first-year student enrollment. E&H’s dining services are also struggling with a staff shortage.

These developments create additional stressors for dining services atop the normal difficulties of meeting college food requirements.

E&H’s main dining service, the Caf, located inside Van Dyke, is catered by Sodexo, an on-site food management service. Alternative dining options include The Hut, a fast-food-style experience, and a convenience store, The Zone. While the Caf has extended hours on certain days to accommodate the increase in students, these other services have begun limiting hours due to limited employee availability.

Select E&H employees have begun working in multiple dining areas to combat limited employment. Workers typically seen working in the Caf can be found serving food in The Hut and the Zone.

Sodexo’s stated goal is to implement a continuous hiring process to avoid overworked employees while maintaining campus needs. Van Dyke employee Kathy Butler commented on Sodexo’s handling of the enlarged numbers.

“Everyone has a chance to get a break, but some people have worked straight seven days,” she said. “We’re trying to cover a lot of shifts, and we’re still in a hiring process. Our overall goal is to make sure everyone has something that they want to eat, and that they can get it.”

Despite the school’s efforts, many students have resorted to seeking off-campus food options to replace campus selections and avoid the crowded dining locations.

E&H junior, Amy Cole, said, “I know for me personally, I am not a person who likes to go to the Caf for every meal. So with our options being limited, it only increases the likelihood that I will miss meals. I’m excited for Macado’s to reopen so we have another option.”

Indeed, Macado’s announced its reopening in September. Dining services hopes its recommencement will alleviate pressure on E&H dining facilities.

Any students with questions about E&H dining services, or an interest in working with dining services, can contact the managers in Van Dyke.