In an email sent to Barnard students this morning, Barnard announced that Aramark will be replaced with Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services.
The announcement follows “three decades” of collaboration with Aramark and a yearlong selection process. Chartwells will oversee all Barnard Dining locations including Peets in the Milstein Center, The Diana Center Café and Liz’s Place, and Hewitt Dining Hall.
The email also announced an upcoming renovation of Hewitt Dining Hall in the summer of 2020, while assuring students that their input will be heard.
The email sent to students emphasized new health and sustainability efforts that will accompany the change. Chartwells will partner with the existing Sustainable Practices Committee to advance sustainability initiatives concerning dining, focusing on reducing food waste. Chartwells will also focus on sourcing many of its food offerings from local farms and vendors and will have an on-site, full-time dietician as well.
Despite the change in provider, accessibility to dining halls will remain the same for Barnard and CU undergraduates on a meal plan. CU students will be able to use their meal plan at Barnard’s dining halls, and Barnard students will still be able to swipe into CU dining halls. Concerning current employee retention, the email stressed that Chartwells will interview all current employees who wish to remain part of Barnard Dining Services, “with the intent of hiring every qualified associate to be part of the new team.”
Aramark has been faced with controversy in the past, with a boycott taking place last semester aimed at protesting its unsanitary food served to prisoners. The change marks a victory of sorts for activists on campus. Maeve Flaherty, CC’20, center director of the Roosevelt Human Rights Center and co-head of Barnard No Aramark with Tanisha Aggarwal BC’20, commented: “We are overjoyed that the administration listened to the over 1,000 students who signed our petition and boycotted the dining halls in protest of Aramark. The administration has demonstrated the power of student action by choosing Chartwell, a dining provider that is fully divested from mass incarceration in the United States. We recognize that no private corporation is perfect, and look forward to continuing to push the Barnard administration and Chartwells to focus on ethical practices in the coming months. This is, however, clearly a step forward in creating a more ethical campus and affirms the power of student voices to affect change!”
Representatives from Chartwells will be on campus today outside the Barnard Gates or in the Diana Center to answer any questions from students.
Read the full email below:
“Dear Barnard Community,
I am pleased to announce that Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services will be our new dining service provider beginning in July 2019. This decision represents the culmination of a yearlong, community-wide process involving town halls and other discussions with students, staff, and faculty. Chartwells will oversee and operate food services at Hewitt Dining Hall, The Diana Center Café, Liz’s Place, and Peet’s at The Milstein Center.
Starting last fall, a College committee consisting of students and staff conducted a thorough, competitive bid process, interviewed vendors, and performed site visits. We wish to thank everyone who participated in this rigorous evaluation and selection process. We also wish to thank Aramark for their service over the past three decades. From helping our students with activities like Big Sub and Midnight Breakfast to the care and dedication of the Aramark staff, we are grateful for their involvement at Barnard throughout the years.
Chartwells will bring a fresh energy to our dining program, with a focus on food as a central point of our campuswide efforts around health and wellness. Chartwells will source many of its produce and proteins from local farms and vendors, and will have an on-site, full-time dietician to help students with their nutritional needs and questions. They will also provide offerings that meet students’ variety of dietary requirements.
The Chartwells program will also be a sustainable one. Partnering with our Sustainable Practices Committee, Chartwells will focus on reducing Barnard’s carbon footprint by eliminating food waste through composting, recycling, the use of reusable packaging, and a commitment to innovation.
This summer, Chartwells will update the Hewitt Dining Hall, The Diana Center second-floor café, and Liz’s Place. In the summer of 2020, they will undertake a multimillion-dollar renovation of Hewitt Dining Hall, making it much more inviting and efficient. We will, of course, seek student input during this process.
It’s important to note that under the new contract, the popular dining exchange with Columbia will remain as is: Columbia students can take advantage of our dining services, and Barnard students have access to Ferris Booth, JJ’s, and John Jay. Also, since many of you have expressed concerns about the status of current dining service employees, rest assured that Chartwells will interview all existing hourly staff as part of the transition, with the intent of hiring every qualified associate to be part of the new team.
Answers to additional questions can be found here: Barnard/Chartwells Partnership FAQs. Chartwells will be on campus today to provide information and answer any questions you may have. Stop by and see them at the Barnard main gate (or The Diana Center lobby in case of inclement weather).
This is an exciting time for Barnard. The campus is renewed and energized by the recent addition of The Milstein Center, and we see a top-to-bottom refresh of our dining program as further enhancing student life, making Barnard the dining destination it should be.
Chief Operating Officer”
Image via Bwog Archives