Students face quality issues with on-campus dining


Photo credit/ Photo Courtesy of Marissa Manza

Over the course of the past semester, students have been finding mysterious materials popping up in their meals at the Nazareth Dining Hall and the Study Grounds Cafe.

While residents and commuters alike typically complain about the food on campus, recent events at the Nazareth Dining Hall and the Study Grounds Cafe at the Learning Commons have given credence to their grievances.

The first reported incident occurred on December 5 with a bug larvae found in a piece of broccoli that was posted to the Marywood App by student Maddy Redican. The situation then developed from there to include plastic in the macaroni and cheese at the Study Grounds Cafe and, most recently, a piece of metal found in a student’s self-serve meal.

“Throughout the past two semesters, there have been several instances of unsafe products being found in Marywood’s food by students. Obviously, as an organization, Marywood’s Dining Services team does everything they can to ensure the safety of their food and the quality of their meals,” said Rebekah Becker, dining services representative for Marywood’s Student Government Association.

Part of her role includes meeting with Lou Mazza, the director of dining services, on a monthly basis to discuss all things dining services.

“Mr. Mazza and I have been talking extensively about the recent food incidents in our meetings. Mr. Mazza has expressed to me immense frustration on behalf of the entire Dining Services staff concerning these issues and the dining services team’s inability to identify the source of the particular contaminants and why these incidents happened and are continuing to happen,” said Becker in an email.

Dining Services, as well as university administration, have been working to resolve the issues before they happen, but Becker says that students need to speak out about their issues in an appropriate manner.

“The key issue is that these food safety issues will never be able to be corrected unless the affected students come forward and share the contaminated food and the details surrounding the incident with the dining services staff,” said Becker.

Students have taken to the Marywood App to voice their disgruntlement instead of bringing issues to Lou Mazza and the Chartwells staff.

“While there have been a couple of reported instances of objects being found on a
student’s plate, it is vitally important that we are made aware of it at the time it happens.
Once reported and we can actually see what is brought to us, it helps us understand
more about what an item may be and how it could have gotten to a plate,” said Mazza.

Mary Pegarella, a music education major at Marywood agrees with Becker and Mazza.

“While I am glad that people are stepping up and bringing these issues forward, I think that there are ways to do so that sound less hurtful. The staff on campus are trying their best to not only feed an entire campus but to feed them things they will want to eat,” said Pegarella.

As a response to the food issues from last semester, students with a dining plan received a refunded portion of their meal plan in the form of a monetary rebate.

Marywood also brought on a new executive chef, Sarah Bodner. Bodner has been in food service for 35 years, 14 of which has been spent in higher education.

Overall, Mazza emphasized that student feedback is a core part of change in dining services operations.

“I encourage interaction and ask that students use one of our feedback channels or talk to us directly when they feel they have an issue or question,” said Mazza.

Contact the writer: [email protected]