University officials this week are touting increased student approval of GW’s Sodexo-run dining options, but aren’t saying much in defense of their claim.
Citing a University-sponsored survey released this month, administrators say students are 11 percent more satisfied with the main dining option on campus and the company that runs J Street a semester after the venue’s overhaul this summer. But University spokeswoman Jill Sankey repeatedly refused to provide additional information about the results, like past approval ratings or even the percentage of students who favor the dining option this semester.
The University’s silence on the matter makes it difficult to contextualize the survey, leaving the extent to which the J Street overhaul has had an effect unclear.
The data was collected through a voluntary online survey conducted during the fall semester by an outside company, hired by the GW Dining Services. About 675 students participated.
Ben Leighton, chair of the Student Dining Board, said he did not have access to survey results, but said overall the J Street revamp has been successful at bringing students back into J Street.
“Operationally, there is a larger, better selection and something that GW students have wanted for a long time in J Street: a grill,” Leighton said. “I think that this is reflected in the significant increase in all of those categories – people realize that the dining facilities are improving.”
He added that the amount of complaints received by the board declined coming into the fall semester and again as the organization targeted specific concerns. Aroma Indian Cuisine – provided by Aroma Restaurant at 19th and I Streets – replaced Italian venue Thyme after the majority of students ranked Indian cuisine first in the latest survey.
J Street was torn apart this summer, scrapping venues like Chick-Fil-A and Wendy’s. Three options – the coffee and frozen yogurt venue Freshens, the self-serve market and the Kosher deli – remain from last year.
The Metro Diner attracts upwards of 550 customers daily, and the new Pesto and the Asian offering Bamboo boast fresher foods and more options.
Students at the venue Wednesday were split on their satisfaction with the amount and type of options available, with some calling to bring back fast food vendors while others praised the addition of new venues.
Freshman Yehudah Abraham said he was pleased with the options available.
“I would eat here as often even if I didn’t have to,” Abraham said, referring to the $750 of dining dollars freshmen are required to spend at Sodexo venues each semester.
“I don’t think [the changes] made that much of a difference to the quality except for maybe the Metro Diner,” sophomore Ellyse Murphy said.
Freshman Michelle Ryngel said although she likes the food she’s tried, she hopes Sodexo begins listing ingredients in dishes. She avoids the buffet and most other venues due to her food allergies.
This article was updated on January 26, 2012 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly referred to Yehudah Abraham, a male student, as “she.”