Example of a dining option from Dec. 1, 2022 at MCC's Southern and Dobson campus. (Photo by Monica D. Soencer)

Dining advisory boards needs representation

All 12 Maricopa County Community College’s need representation for the Student Culinary Council, a student and faculty advisory board which will provide direct feedback about college dining options.

The Student Culinary Council’s first meeting on Nov. 30 introduced college students and faculty to food service contractor Sodexo’s management team, who oversees dining options at all MCCCD colleges.

As Sodexo enters their second year working for MCCCD, the company hopes to confront early challenges with the inclusion of the voices from whom they serve daily.

“There isn’t a common issue, or a concern at each of the campuses, they’re all different and they all have different needs.” said Sodexo general manager Bill Cupo at the introductory meeting of the Student Culinary Council.

“The mission of the Student Culinary Council is really to provide a forum for a regular and consistent feedback about dining services, and to really engage with our student leadership population.” Cupo added.

The first meeting only had student and faculty representation from Mesa Community College and South Mountain Community College, the latter of which expressed passionate feedback about the dining options at their campus.

“Since COVID started they shut down the grill, and it hasn’t been back open since,” said Scott Winter, a student at SMCC. “It’s hard to get people to want to come on campus and stay on campus when there’s not [food] services on campus.” Winter added.

Marisela Sosa, a faculty member at SMCC, explained that as a mom, her relationship with her students was driven by compassion, and she wants to see that same drive from Sodexo and the Student Culinary Council.

“When we say students are hungry, we mean like they’re hungry, hungry, not just for education. Students are here all day long.” said Sosa when referring to the closure of SMCC’s grill.

Sodexo explained during the first meeting that the pandemic delayed their original 2020 contract with MCCCD until 2021, and the contractor claims to continue to deal with problems amongst the food service industry, including staffing shortage and supply chain related issues.

Cupo spearheads Sodexo’s operations at MCCCD, with two general managers overseeing the college’s separate West and East divisions. 

Site supervisors represent Sodexo at certain larger colleges in the district like MCC’s Southern and Dobson, and Red Mountain locations.

Sodexo’s contract with MCCCD lasts for 10 years, with a review process at the five year mark to reestablish if the contract will continue.

Future Student Culinary Council meetings will be held on a monthly basis, but Sodexo will wait in anticipation of more students to establish an exact schedule.

Any MCCCD student, staff or faculty member who is interested in campus food choices is invited to join the Student Culinary Council by contacting Alice Yam at (480) 798-5591, or alice.yam@sodexo.com

This story was edited on 12/2/2022 to correct an error made at the time of publication.

Author

  • Rey Covarrubias Jr.

    Rey Covarrubias Jr. is a freelance reporter for the Mesa Legend. As a lifelong Arizonan, he has found his passion in learning and sharing the diverse cultural and natural wonders of the state.