Dining services clarifies prices in response to groups’ complaints

Media Credit: Katherine Keimig | Hatchet Photographer
Student leaders are calling for clearer communication from GW’s dining service, Sodexo, after the College Democrats accidentally doubled their catering costs when filling out a GW form.

Student leaders are calling for clearer communication from the University’s dining services this week, after the largest campus group accidentally doubled its catering costs for a yearly event.

GW’s dining provider Sodexo clarified to Student Association and Student Dining Board members Friday that the College Democrats’ cost rose to $764 because its finance director mistakenly signed up for a buffet option with hired staff.

The miscommunication prompted SA senators and Student Dining Board chair Alex Barbieri to call for Sodexo to be more upfront about its catering options and their costs, which he said are not clearly explained.

Barbieri said GW Campus Dining will join information sessions for student organization registration for the first time this spring, to better explain catering options.

“I want to see contracts on the website. I just want to make sure that we know what the prices are for the student orgs, and what the requirements are for them,” Barbieri said.

Student organizations must hire Sodexo to cater events in the Marvin Center.

Omeed Firouzi, president of the College Democrats, first brought the group’s concerns to the SA and the dining board last month after comparing their catering contracts from 2013 and 2012 and finding that the prices skyrocketed.

The price of 100 chicken tenders shot up to $250 from $112 the previous year while a gallon of lemonade doubled to $12.

It wasn’t until a Sodexo representative saw that the group had picked “buffet” instead of “student pickup” on the 2013 contract that the students understood the price hike.

Sodexo did kick up catering and J Street prices by 4 to 6 percent this fall – its first increase in four years.

Nancy Haaga, director of campus support services, said the University’s catering department’s prices remain “competitive with the marketplace.”

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