Updated Saturday, June 9 at 7:26 a.m.
The University will make sweeping changes to campus dining this fall, including modifications to nearly every J Street venue and added Colonial Cash restrictions for underclassmen.
The University made this decision in response to student concerns about dining options, said Nancy Haaga, director of Campus Support Services. Administrators and student leaders said they coordinated with Sodexho, GW’s food service provider, to alter venues to better suit student needs.
Though Wendy’s and Jamba Juice will remain in J Street, the University is replacing all other J Street eateries. Unlike past years, many of the new venues will be less brand-oriented and are instead geared toward self-service and pay-by-the-pound dining.
New restaurants include Pacific Rim, a sushi and pan-Asian restaurant; a GW bagel and pastry shop; a Sodexho dessert venue; a make your own sandwich and deli bar; and Little Italy, a new name for Pandinis. J Street Caf? will be replaced by a pay-by-the-pound restaurant with a small convenience store. Also, Chick-Fil-A will become an express location that allows patrons to serve themselves.
“The improvement in service and food quality will be huge,” said Student Association president Nicole Capp, who helped negotiate the changes. “Sodexho really wants to be attracting students because the food is really good, not because of the brand names,” she added.
Haaga said the broad changes were implemented because younger students – particularly freshmen – had trouble navigating “GW’s non-traditional dining program.”
“These changes will allow students to eat what they want in the quantities that they desire,” Haaga wrote in an e-mail. “The move away from brands enables Sodexho to offer more quality, nutritious and appealing food and menu selections that better meet the myriad of student dining preferences”
In addition to the altered dining options, Haaga said J Street’s hours of operation will remain consistent in the upcoming year, after several abrupt changes in the past.
Unlike last year, no venues in J Street will open on weekends. Between Monday and Thursday, most J Street venues will remain open until 9:00 – excluding Jamba Juice and the GW bagel and pastry shop. WOW Caf? and Wingery, located in the Hippodrome, will remain open until midnight seven days a week.
Capp said the loss of weekend dining in J Street was part of a compromise to allow restaurants to stay open late during the week. “The concession for the weekend hours was something we had to accept, but that’s not to say that we can’t change that,” Capp said.
“(The concerns students had) were heard loud and clear by the Student Association and were relayed to the administration,” Brand Kroeger, Student Association Executive VP, said.
In a letter to Sodexho this spring, the Student Association voiced several student concerns. These included inconsistent and unreasonable dining hours in the Marvin Center and on the Mount Vernon campus, a limited selection of dining options, a lack of healthy dining choices and poor service quality.
Along with the change in J Street venues, underclassmen see changes in the ways they can spend their Colonial Cash, said Francis Murray, director of Dining and Retail Services for the Student Association.
Of the $3,400 freshmen are required to have on their GWorld cards, they must spend at least $1,400 in J Street, WOW Caf? and Wingery, Duques, or on Mount Vernon. Sophomores must spend at least $500 of their required $2,500 GWorld card totals at these same specified locations.
Murray added that the Colonial Cash amounts freshmen and sophomores are required to spend at certain on-campus locations will not roll over from year to year, and instead will expire at the end of the academic year. Colonial Cash dollars not part of this required amount will, however, roll over from year to year, a change from Colonial Cash policy in recent years.