The unveiling date of the University of Regina’s strategic long-range plan, a five-year process announced back in 2008 and started in 2009, is quickly approaching. From what has been documented and posted on the provost’s blog, the plan looks promising and ideal. However pleasing everything sounds, I couldn’t help but notice one crucial factor that was missing from the plan: food services. The food services offered here, by Chartwells, on campus is abysmal. I am not just talking about the overall food services, I am talking about the quality of food and the lack of accommodation for all students. In particular students who have dietary needs, as in if some students eat the food they will get sick … and die. Coach Carr from Mean Girls will understand the severity of the food issue here on campus.
Normally I don’t care or listen when students without dietary issues complain about food but I am also getting sick of spending almost approximately $12 everyday for one meal and still have sub-par quality of food found at Chartwells. I factor in my own food options and limitations with this assessment. I have Celiac Disease, meaning I can’t eat anything with wheat, barley, rye, or gluten. To relate it to many university students, I can’t even drink beer.
I can’t buy most, if any, of the meals from most of the Chartwells establishments. If only Global Village would cook and use sauces that did not contain ingredients with gluten, maltodextrin and obviously, flour, the problem could be quickly addressed. Something as simple as changing the kind of sauces and seasonings is not asking much, and it wouldn’t overly inconvenience the Chartwells management to train and inform their employees to know all the ingredients used to prepare meals that they sell to their patrons.
Don’t misunderstand me – I am grateful that the dietary restricted (including not just Celiacs, but the lactose-intolerant and vegetarians or any other restrictions) do have options on this campus, but I think if the quality and the food services were to improve quality and inclusivity-wise students would be more inclined to not only eat here, but also see an increase in activity and participation in classes. With student participation, professors would be more receptive to students and their studies. Small changes to include others will make them feel welcome and improve the overall university experience. A small gesture does go a long way in many cases.
While, food services are a small factor to the overall campus structure, it is a very important one. Food services is a small piece of the university structure that, if properly overhauled, could set a positive domino effect into encouraging students, faculty, and staff members to eat healthier, which in turn, can lead to more positive change at our university.