Houghton College is considering bids from dining service companies. Sodexo, the company which currently serves Houghton, runs out on its current contract this May. Student Government Association (SGA) Executive Officer of Student Life Sergio Mata-Cisneros ‘19 said three companies have “submitted a proposal, one being Sodexo.” Mata-Cisneros said a committee has been formed which is “working on reviewing the proposals. Currently Joanna [Friesen, SGA Student Body President] and I sit as student representatives on the committee.”
Vice President of Student Life, Rob Pool, said there are faculty and staff representatives on the the committee as well. Pool stated the rest of the committee is comprised of Director of conferences, Becca Crouch;Director of Operations for the president, Cindy Lastoria; chief business officer, Dale Wright Assistant Director of Admission Events and Office Operations, Elizabeth Rutledge; Athletic Director, Harold Lord; Assistant Dean of Students, Marc Smithers; Athletics Marketing & Scheduling Coordinator, Marshall Green; and Phyllis Gaerte, Director of Alumni and Community Relations. Biology and Sciences professor, Ransom Poythress, is the faculty representative on the committee. Sustainability concerns will be addressed on the committee by sustainability coordinator, Brian Webb.
Aside from Sodexo’s bid, Pool said Metz Culinary Management and American Dining Creations have submitted proposals.
Derek Chase ‘19 expressed enthusiasm that the dining services contract is open for bidding. “I think it’s good to consider all kinds of new options, especially because I love to try all kinds of food,” he said. “I think it would be cool to see what other companies have to offer.”
Sarah Vande Brake ‘19 concurred. “Sodexo has had this contract for awhile, and while I personally don’t mind the food, I know many students have gotten tired of it and it might be time to explore other options for the school.”
For the committee, price is not the only factor considered in the bidding process. According to Pool, Houghton published a request for bids which included several factors such as “Quality Assurance,” “Strategic and Business Planning,” and “Responsiveness to the College Community.”
“The committee will hear presentations from the three companies next week”, said Mata-Cisneros. After the semester break, Mata-Cisneros said the committee will continue deliberations and negotiations with the companies. The committee expects to “have all the contracts signed with the chosen company by February break” he stated. Houghton will release the information shortly after the contracts are solidified, Mata-Cisneros said.