Aramark should consider concerns

CordUnsignedWilfrid Laurier University, the Students’ Union and Aramark have been negotiating this past year to come up with a new five-year contract, which is hopefully going to be completed by the fall.

Negotiations are still ongoing and although parties involved are optimistic about reaching a deal, it should be stressed that student needs should be the heart of these conversations.

The longer the negotiations go on for, the longer its business as usual for Aramark.  The complexity of the deal is understood due to the converging priorities of quality, affordability and profit. Hopefully the new contract and the services it outlines reflect student concerns that have been made well known since the dining hall transformation in 2012. Major points of contention for students are the cost, quality, and accessibility of the dining hall, an area used for more than just eating.

The new meal plan, a controversial departure from the meal plan of previous years, has brought attention to meal flexibility and student health and wellness. However, the university seems set on continuing to provide the “all-you-care-to-eat” option for students on their meal plan.

The style does provide options and is cost effective for Aramark, but logic suggests students will overeat in order to get their money’s worth. They might overeat for another reason as well – students cannot return to eat in the same meal bloc, nor is there any snack option. Students are paying thousands of dollars to attend this school, and its often mandatory meal plan, and should be able to go to the dining hall and grab a snack or have some basic freedom of choice.

The meal plan of few options, that encourages poor eating habits, is worrisome and should be considered by all negotiating parties. In addition, Aramark should heavily consider student employment at their operations, especially in the Terrace.

It will be very interesting to see whether WLUSU can make an impact on these negotiations or if Aramark’s profit margins will stifle student concerns and well-being.

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