Trays removed from UNA’s Towers Cafeteria because of student misuse

Students eat together in Towers Cafeteria Feb. 7. Sodexo Operations Manager Gwen Burney said to-go boxes were removed from the facility because students were misusing them. She said students can request to be added to a list to receive meals in to-go boxes.

by Staff Writer Monday Sanderson

Students visiting Towers Cafeteria this semester likely noticed a difference: no more to-go boxes.

Although the to-go boxes have been around for several years, this is the first time they have been removed, said Sodexo operations manager Gwen Burney.

“Being a musician, we have to be in the practice rooms almost eight hours a day,” said freshman music major Maria Sullivan. “We don’t have a lot of time between our classes to spend in the cafeteria or our rooms. The to-go boxes were a great benefit to us.”

While some students said the change is inconvenient, officials said they removed to-go containers because students misused them.

“The abuse was overwhelming,” Burney said. “We saw people get to-go boxes and feed people on the outside who no longer have meal plans.”

Burney said the boxes are only meant for people who have busy schedules or cannot stay in a crowded environment due to sickness or an injury. Students were also not supposed to get a box and dine in at Towers.

“I think it sucks,” said freshman Kris Dewberry. “It’s outrageous, really. Who cares if I try to save an extra meal by taking a meal in the box back to my dorm so that I can have it later?”

Sullivan said she was angry when the to-go boxes were first removed, but now she has adapted to the change.

“I just modified my schedule to work around that,” she said. “I don’t really go into Towers as much as I used to. I just go when I have the chance.”

Burney said the containers have not been eliminated altogether.

“We still have to-go boxes for the purposes that it was intended for,” she said. “If they contact the Sodexo food office or email us, we’ll make sure head chef Paul Teran has their name listed and times when they need to have the meal. It’s just something that, in the process of restructuring, needs to be managed.”

Sullivan praised Sodexo’s efforts to make getting a meal on-the-go possible for students.

Burney said neither herself nor Teran have received any complaints or other feedback on the to-go boxes.

She said she also noticed there has not been a decrease of people coming to Towers.

“I barely go to Towers anyway — to-go boxes or no to-go boxes,” said sophomore Mia Adams. “It doesn’t affect me going to Towers.”

Adams said she heard the containers were removed because of the Corner Store, commonly known as the C-Store, being open all day.

“We also know that it’s because they were losing money, but I don’t know how much money they lose,” she said.

Students said the C-Store, which is seen as an alternative to the to-go boxes, is not held in high regards.

At the same time the to-go boxes were removed, the C-Store started to stay open longer.

At the beginning of the semester, a sign in Towers stated while the boxes were no longer available, the C-Store was open.

“I can go to Wal-Mart and get more from there than from the C-Store for a lot less,” Adams said.

Despite some negative comments about Towers, Burney said her message is positive.

“I want it to be known that Sodexo is here to serve the student population to the best of its ability,” Burney said. “I just want everyone to realize that Sodexo’s main mission is to serve the needs of the students and the people who live here.”