News 2011: New dining services firm chosen for campus

News 2011: New dining services firm chosen for campus
New dining services firm chosen for campus

Chartwells chosen based on student, faculty and staff feedback seeking greater choice and flexibility

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth announced today that it has chosen Chartwells, a national leader in university food service, to manage its student dining operation pending completion of contract negotiations. 

"We look forward to partnering with Chartwells to enhance the dining experience for our 9,500 students, our staff and campus visitors," said Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Deborah McLaughlin. "Throughout this 10-month process we have done a lot of listening to students, faculty and staff about their needs and aspirations related to dining. We have been impressed with Chartwells' track record for creating healthy, diverse and exciting dining options and becoming fully engaged in campus life. Our students are going to be very pleased when they return in the fall." 

Among the highlights of the Chartwells proposal: 

- Responding to student demands for more choice and flexibility, traditional meal plans will be augmented with opportunities to use meal tickets at on-campus dining outlets such as cafes and sandwhich shops located in residential and academic buildings. 

- A leading edge health and nutrition program that caters to the diverse needs of students, faculty, staff and visitors from around the nation and world will be implemented. 

- The Resident Dining Hall will be renovated to improve food choices and foot traffic flow during high volume periods of the day. 

- A Campus Center Food Court will be constructed to provide new choices for students. This will follow additional input from students about the kinds of choices they would prefer.

- Local and national brand name dining options, such as sandwich and coffee shops, will be brought to campus. Chartwells and the university are in discussions with such businesses. 

- "Farm to Fork" sustainability programs designed to support local farmers and additional partnerships with the UMass Dartmouth Sustainability Initiative will be implemented. 

Chartwells was chosen to manage UMass Dartmouth's $11 million food services enterprise after a comprehensive 10-month public bidding process that included broad-based feedback from students, faculty and staff. UMass Dartmouth officials and Chartwells have opened a dialogue with the union representing the on-campus employees of Sodexo, the university's current dining services vendor. A smooth transition is expected.