When Ithaca College cut ties with food provider Sodexo in 2019, students expected to receive better food at a better price. Two years later, students remain displeased and disappointed by what they are given.
The intention behind replacing Sodexo was to provide higher-quality and locally sourced food. A petition that circulated among the college community exposed unsanitary and unsafe practices within the dining halls from before Sodexo was replaced. Students have pointed out mold and bugs in their food, mislabeled items and cross-contamination that caused allergic reactions, yet the college acted as though it was doing its students a favor by switching food providers.
Allergen-free and religious diets were given their own stations, so students who have specific needs no longer have to leave campus or rely on dorm room snacks for their next meal. But in terms of quality, students are still complaining about the very things meant to have changed. The quality of the food remains questionable at times. The bar is incredibly low, and when the food goes just above the bar — even slightly — it is a pleasant surprise. Though dining hall food will never compare to the experience of a home–cooked meal, it should not be unreasonable for students to expect clean and, at the very least, edible food.
With the options of IC Food Court and Ithaca Bakery, some students take any opportunity to not eat dining hall food. Towers Marketplace became a convenient choice for food. Students can use their meal swipes or pay for hamburgers, pizzas and salads. This is ironic considering that moving on from Sodexo was meant to provide students with less processed foods.
With the new COVID-19 regulations, the way students access food on a daily basis is completely different. There are no longer self-serving stations, students must remain six feet apart and most tables can only seat up to two students. Since the start of the year, lines at Terrace Dining Hall and Campus Center Dining Hall are always long, and waiting up to an hour for food is just not worth it. There is no question as to why, before the semester is even over, students are out of Bomber Bucks and use out-of-pocket money to pay for food that is anything but dining hall food.
When the college transitioned from Sodexo, it did so promising students higher-quality and healthier food. Sodexo may be gone, but residential students are stuck paying for a meal plan that does not provide adequate taste or convenience.