The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

“Tray-less” among changes in Montgoris

Montgoris Dining Hall underwent several changes in an effort to improve traffic flow, reduce waste and satisfy students’ request for more variety in their selections. These changes have received mixed emotions from students.

“Everything we do, we do with the students in mind,” said Edward Taraskewich, resident district manager for Chartwells.

The University changed food service providers last year from Sodexho to Chartwells. Since then, Chartwells has been trying to address students’ concerns when it comes to variety, seating availability, long lines for food, congestion, and special dietary preferences, such as vegetarianism.

The most visible form of change is the new layout of the dining hall.

Last year, the omelet bar and breakfast bar were located inside the main serving area. This year, they are located midway between the front entrance and the main serving area. It is self-serve, as are the other Montgoris dining stations.

Gina Capetanakis, Chartwells marketing manager, said the new design was done to reduce congestion inside the main dining area and promote a more personal feel.

Students seem to agree.

“Moving [the food stations] away from the rest of the serving area has reduced crowding,” said junior Preston Palmer. “The lines aren’t as bad as they used to be.”

However, some students are unimpressed with the renovations and disgruntled with the quality of the food.

“[Montgoris] has improved its look, but the food is exactly the same,” said sophomore Raman Randhawa.

Not all changes were implemented for visual purposes.
Capetanakis explained students can use a Meal Exchange in the Marillac Food Court from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. This way they can eat later, have more choices and it will reduce the crowds during dinner, when Montgoris is busiest.

A Meal Exchange works like a dinner meal swipe at Montgoris. As long as the meal purchased at Marillac is less than $7 or coincides with the student meal combos, the student can use a meal swipe to eat dinner in Marillac rather than Montgoris.

Student meal combos include an entrée, a beverage and a snack. The possible combinations and specific items available are shown on various posters displayed throughout the Marillac cafeteria.

In addition to a new layout and expanded dining option, Chartwells has tried to promote planet and animal friendly dining in Montgoris by using cage-free eggs and introducing “Tray-less Tuesdays,” where students dine without cafeteria trays one day a week in order to reduce the use of water and electricity.

Taraskewich said tray-less dining helps to reduce food waste because it encourages students to take less food and use less plates and utensils.

Student Kevin Dudginski said he likes the idea, but that it will take time to get use to.

“One day a week isn’t a big deal,” he said.

However, Fiona McElroy, another student, believes Tray-less Tuesdays are “a huge inconvenience.”

“If you want to get a drink, a plate of food and a bowl of salad you have to make two trips,” she said.

Taraskewich said she urges students to fill out the “Let’s Talk” surveys for comments and feedback. They are available inside Montgoris or at the following Web site:

Taraskewich said the comments are very helpful for finding solutions and addressing student concerns.

“We are never satisfied with the here and now,” she said. “We are constantly looking for ways to improve the students’ dining experience.”

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