Your voice matters, according to Central Oregon Community College (COCC) Food Services Director Melissa Miller. Thus, Miller organized a conference in the residence hall with the intention of listening to the COCC residents, the cafeteria’s predominant patrons. Many residents attended and voiced a plethora of concerns and suggestions.
Almost immediately after Miller began the conference, voices from across the room were heard all at once. However, the residence hall community assistants or CAs were present to make sure the conference continued as a positive experience.
Students are happy with the fresh eggs and omelets served during breakfast. However, there are still a wide variety of concerns.
The residents of COCC are unsatisfied with a number of issues. Two of the most common concerns that were expressed are how difficult the meat is to cut and how frequently the meat is overcooked or undercooked. A third prevalent concern is the demand for more variety in dinner choices.
Vegetarian students expressed their concerns as well. An issue that was brought up was the unclear sign differentiation of non vegetarian food and vegetarian food, causing vegetarian students to accidentally ingest meat without them knowing.
Some of the more alarming concerns expressed by the residents were taken very seriously by Miller as she acknowledged them. These concerns include claims of inappropriate staff behavior, such as overhearing conversations of drinking on the job. Along with this, some of the staff were also criticized for their negative attitude and dismissiveness to customers.
COCC student and resident Michael Ott said, “We’re not getting what we’re paying for.”
A few more alarming claims that were expressed were that the cooking staff would touch the food with their bare hands after coughing into them. Right after a resident made this claim, several others in the room groaned in agreement. The residents of COCC believe that the cooking staff should wear gloves more often for the sake of cleanliness.
Another issue that was brought up was the moldy food.
COCC resident Alex Wright said, “I was dismayed to find that on more than one occasion, there has been moldy bread.”
After claims of the use of powdered eggs and discarded food being left over to be served the next day were made, Miller instantly cleared up any confusion and said that the cooks do not use powdered eggs, and that any food that is unconsumed after being put out to serve is discarded.
Some of these concerns will be easy to address, while others may be challenging.
“The menu change is going to be the most difficult, but the additional variety in the cafe should be easy,” said Miller
Miller believes the panel was a success.
“This was a positive experience. My job is to make sure the residents have a great experience here… Residents are my first priority,” Miller said.
The Broadside Staff