“Renovation” is a word that is quickly becoming familiar to students who have returned for the 2006 fall semester. Almost everywhere one goes, there is some major change taking place. Those of Marillac Terrace, Jazzman’s Caf√© (formerly known as Java City) and the newest campus eatery-Sullivan Caf√©- have hardly gone unnoticed.

Menus with more choices, taste panels, coupon giveaways and culinary cooking classes are only some of the treats and interactive activities available in dining facilities.

What exactly is Sodexho? According to Sherri Holmes, the Marketing Manager of Sodexho Campus services, “‘Sodexho’ is an acronym which comes from the French phrase ‘Soci√©t√© d’exploitation h√¥teli√®re,’ which means ‘a company of service and hospitality.’ Sodexho is an international organization that provides food and management facility to educational, corporate, government and healthcare institutions all around the world.”

Sodexho is present in such places as Stonehenge in the UK, Canada, Mt. Everest in Nepal, Russia, Holland, Namibia, Germany, Brazil, Korea, Australia and Antarctica to name a few.
Sodexho has made achievements internationally, a few of which include: setting the world’s record for the largest restaurant operation in history (3 million people fed daily during the World Youth Day for the Vatican); providing meals for the first successful American Expedition of Mt Everest; providing food services for all of the summer and winter Olympic games since Calgary; and being the only company that operates in both the North and South poles.

Sodexho, which is also a service-oriented company, devoted 30,000 employees to provide meals to 25,000 hungry people during the April 2005 Sodexho Servathon in the United States. Sodexho also provides services to various governments and works with the United Nations in some countries.

“We do some amazing things in our business and we lose sight of it sometimes, thinking of it as ‘just doing our job,'” Holmes said. “The scale and range of what we do is quite amazing.”
Sodexho, also known as St. John’s Dining Services on campus, is all things food and food-related in the University. Sodexho took on the name “St. John’s Dining Services” to build a relationship with the campus community.

The company was contracted with St. John’s over a year ago to provide dining services on the Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan campuses.

“We are more than just the renovations you see,” Holmes said.
Interactive sessions such as “Play With Your Food” and “Mingle with the Managers” will take place during the semester to allow students to express themselves. The first Taste Panel of 2006-2007 will be “Choose the Burger Contest” on Sept. 28, with the results posted at all grill locations in the first week of October.

Responses from the campus community to the renovations and services provided in the dining facilities are varied.
Beatrice Khaimova, a graduate student was impressed with the Sullivan Café.

“It is my first time here,” Khaimova said. “It is beautiful and nice. It could be better though, sofas, more hot food, grills, fries and a bigger room.”

Students were also happy to see the improvements made to Marillac Terrace.

“It is a good place to hang out,” said freshman Tiffany McPherson. “I like it.”

“The quality of the present tables is certainly better than that of the former ones,” said senior Sean Reilly. “I like the food; it is a good place to hang out.”

Cards have been placed for comments, questions and suggestions at the cash register in all dining locations. Responses to questions and comments posed will be posted on bulletin boards in the dining hall on the following day. Holmes is hoping to receive constructive feedback that can help St. John’s Dining Services plan future events and menus.

“Of Course,” Holmes said, “St. John’s Dining Services wants to know ‘how we are doing.'”