I’m a 4th year Trent student who knows as well as any other student the complaints that surround Chartwells’ fine dining service, from the food quality to the wonderful (sarcasm) amount of options Chartwells provides for the student body. We are not a large school by any means; however, each year the population substantially grows (as we can all see the changes). If you are unaware, we have a new residence on Water Street to accommodate the population increase. I would assume, as our school grows our food system would grow with the student body as well, adding healthier food options or adding just… more options.
My latest dining experience made me write this article, to share the financial pains that students struggle with. I was at the library one day in December studying for an exam. I brought food with me, but not realizing how many hours I was going to be nose-deep in a book for, I did not bring enough food. For dinner, my friend and I trekked to the LEC café. We waited in line a short time of 20 minutes (if I was in Otonabee Café, I would be in line probably for 30 minutes). The only options available were burgers, pizza, fries, and the like or their dinner options of ravioli and mushroom ravioli. I took a plate of the mushroom ravioli, which came with a slice of garlic bread. I also picked up a drink and my friend made a coffee. The total to all three items, was $17, just shy away from a $20 meal. Why on earth was a cafeteria meal $17?! Oh, and it made no pretense of being worth the amount I had paid. If you refer to the image, you can see my two drinks, probably four pieces of ravioli and garlic bread that I probably could have used as a boomerang instead. To knock it all off, the pasta was colder than my iced tea, and the bread could have been used as a weapon it was so hard.
The reason I’m speaking up is that, if this were a restaurant, I would have probably taken the food back or given a bad tip and then wrote a bad review on Yelp. However, we aren’t downtown Peterborough and this food service isn’t leaving anytime soon (and you can’t find Trent Food Services on Yelp). If I were going to spend $17 on a meal, I would have a better and cheaper meal at Dante’s Burrito, or Aji Sai Sushi downtown! If I sent a survey to the student body asking, do you eat Chartwells for convenience or food quality? I’m sure you’d already know the answer. No one wants three chicken fingers every day, pizza, or subway to give them protein or vitamins. Heaven forbid if Chartwells actually sold something green that wasn’t encased in plastic/paper wrapping for eight hours of the day. Students need brain food! You are feeding the future. And stop charging students their life savings for three chicken fingers! It shouldn’t be cheaper for me to purchase a nice bottle of wine than it is for me to eat a meal at school.
Compare this image to mine, you can see the difference in size, colour and the value. This is an image Chartwells tweeted that they are serving one day at Gzowski College. My food pales in comparison, and it is a version most students probably know too well. Chartwells, I don’t want a free coupon saying sorry for your trouble, I want to see change. Feed the student body as if they were home, make them remember mom’s cooking, not miss it. You can do better than this, and we surely pay you enough to do so.