Everyone knows how important food is to college students, and especially to athletes.
What many people don’t know, however, are some of the options that all students at Alma have when eating in the dining hall.
“Part of the issue we have is that maybe not everybody knows what their options are,” said Burt McAtee, general manager of Sodexo Dining Services at Alma.
This raises the question of what it is that students want.
“I have thought that the food situation has been difficult to navigate,” said Erin Goggins (‘19).
Bri Zimmer (‘19), a student-athlete at Alma for four years, said she felt like there are not enough options for healthy foods.
“One of the main issues regarding the food here at Alma is the selection,” said Zimmer.
“I think the food is pretty average in that you are limited to what you can eat if the main line or grill options don’t work out,” said Chase Krueger (‘20).
“I would like to see the MyZone include a possible increase in its selection of available meats,” said Krueger.
While options may appear limited, McAtee urges students to see how that is not true.
There are countless options if something in the main line or grill does not appeal to you.
“Students don’t know that they can take items from anywhere in the dining hall and bring them to either the stir fry station or the pasta station and have them cooked,” said McAtee.
“At the MyZone, you can get a chicken breast cooked for you,” said McAtee.
“You can get anything you want cooked for you if it is allergen free,” said McAtee.
Another issue that is brought up among athletes is meal times.
“For most student athletes in season, it is difficult to get to Saga following practice for dinner due to the times they are open,” said Zimmer.
“Practice times and meal times don’t always match, making it difficult to get a meal that is both healthy and not just a salad with what is available to us at Joe’s,” said Goggins.
“The problem with meal times is that nobody made us aware of the schedule changes for classes,” said McAtee, who wants students to know that the dining hall is open and serving food until 7:30 p.m. each night during the week.
If making it to a meal time is an issue, there are ways around that to ensure you get a good meal.
“We have a boxed breakfast, bag lunch and to-go options available,” said McAtee.
Students have the opportunity to make it work, even with a busy athletic schedule.
Most importantly, the dining service staff on campus wants our voices to be heard.
“One thing that would be cool would be to talk with all of the coaches so that they can spread information to teams,” said McAtee.
“We have recently discussed options to improve this in our SAAC [Student Athletic Advisory Council] meetings,” said Zimmer.
“All athletes feel this way and we have now brought it to the attention of higher management,” said Zimmer.
“If there is something that we are missing or that athletes want, let us know,” said McAtee. “We not only want athletes to be happily fed, but we want all students happy.”