Continued changes to Dining Services
We are thankful for the continued support from students, faculty, staff and administration as Chartwell’s continues to get settled here at Stetson University. You’ve already noticed many of the biggest differences to Stetson Dining Services, but you probably don’t know why.
Earlier this year, Stetson’s contract with Sodexo came under review. Typically, auxiliary service contracts are reviewed every few years to insure that company values are in line with the university and that the contract is financially suitable for both parties. Based on university growth and elevated service expectations, the university desired a different type of dining program. A committee composed of students, faculty and staff evaluated the needs of the Stetson community and submitted a request for proposal. The proposal included the desire to have an all-you-care-to-eat concept, healthier and fresher foods, as well as the ability to cater and/or modify products for students/staff with specific allergens or dietary needs. Three (3) companies, including both Chartwell’s and Sodexo, were invited to campus to propose a dining program incorporating Stetson’s requests. In the end, Stetson selected Chartwell’s to provide a dining program designed to enhance the student experience.
In this transition, there have been some unanswered questions that we would like clarify:
- The all-you-care-to-eat concept was desired solely because of the football team, right?
- While the additions to Stetson’s athletic programs were factors in moving to an all-you-care-to-eat concept, athletes were not the only population of students considered regarding this selection. Students will no longer be limited to an entrée and a few sides for the cost of a meal. Now, you can enjoy true variety and sample all sorts of entrees, sides and desserts without restriction.
- What about free drinks?
- Free soda was discontinued because it was a substantial cost that the university felt could be better allocated.
- So, why can’t students share meal plans?
- Meal plans are designed to be used by the student to control both your costs and ours. This has always been the case, but was not monitored or enforced in the past. Consider this exaggerated example: What if one student bought the Unlimited Meal Plan which provides unlimited swipes into the Commons. Theoretically, that student could stand at the door and swipe in the entire campus everyday on the Unlimited Meal Plan. How could Chartwell’s provide a quality program for the cost of one Unlimited Meal Plan? Essentially, the model that was run in the past is not financially sustainable by either Stetson University or any food service provider.
Together, Chartwell’s and Stetson University are a great match with many shared values. As we move forward, the dining program will continue to grow and evolve to include the following:
- Programs designed to promote sustainability such as Project: Clean Plate
- Online menus with full nutritional information
- Educational culinary programs that feature Cooking 101, healthy eating and regular visits by a certified dietician
- Vegan and vegetarian menus
- Online catering ordering application for both desktops and smartphones
- Monthly themed events
- Purchasing of 20-25 percent of all food from the local community
- Working with Hatter Harvest and Stetson GREEN to increase the amount of garden produce used in the CUB
Stetson Dining Service’s philosophy is Eat. Learn. Live. It is an experience defined by you. We strive to make your time dining with friends and colleagues as special as possible. In response to many comments we have received, open forums and surveys, we have worked quickly to make some changes to better your dining experience including:
- A 5th meal period has been added to help break up the large lunch period and provide more flexibility. The new meal periods are:
Breakfast– 7:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
Lunch– 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Afternoon– 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Dinner– 5:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Late Night– 7:30 p.m.-2:30 a.m.
Your meal plan defines how many swipes you are allotted per period. Please refer to dineoncampus.com/Stetson for any meal plan questions.
- Chick-N-Grill has modified its menu to provide a more consistent menu. Tacos, burritos, quesadillas and rice bowls are now offered on a daily basis. The flavors of chicken and pork will rotate to keep it exciting!
- 2 free guest passes have been added to each resident meal plan (Unlimited, 19, 15, 19, and 115 block). These passes are available for you to swipe in any visiting guests. They can be used during any meal period and are allowed to be used in the same meal period. Currently 2 guest passes will be added to your meal plan this semester and an additional 2 will be added in the Spring semester. We are exploring the ability to provide additional guest passes for next year’s meal plans.
- The back area of The Commons has been opened up to provide a common meeting area for students. We are in the process of ordering softer seating for the area and adding a microwave to create a student lounge available to students 24 hours a day. This will be an area where students can dine, study or just hangout. Once completed this area will no longer be considered a part of The Commons dining space.
- Chicken Biscuits are back! We quickly learned that the Chicken Biscuit was a staple here at Stetson and brought them back. If there is any food item that you loved and don’t see anymore, just let us know and we’ll do our best to bring it back!
- The Commons is now open from 7:00 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on weekdays. All areas will be open for breakfast (7-10 a.m.), lunch (11 a.m.-2 p.m.), and dinner (5-7:30 p.m.). From 10-11 a.m. and 4-5 p.m., we will offer continental breakfast and lunch. From 2-4 p.m., The Commons will offer the Missed Meal Menu. When you enter The Commons, you will be handed a menu from the cashier. Place your order at the grill to have your food made fresh for you.
- Our goal is to provide you with fresh variety and avoid putting the same items out each day. If you’re looking for a grilled chicken breast, a fresh cheeseburger, etc., just ask an associate and we’ll be happy to make one fresh for you.
We’re always listening and looking to improve. If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know at dineoncampus.com/Stetson.
Chris Kandus-Fisher Paul Johnson
Vice President, Student Affairs Director of Chartwell’s Food Services