by Victoria Harris
After a student and faculty campaign to raise awareness about Sodexo’s practices, Regis has ended its relationship with Sodexo.
Students on campus were concerned that they weren’t getting what they were paying for. Regis students described the campaign “ 'I Love Sodexo Workers’ as an effort to bring awareness to the fact that Sodexo, one of the biggest food service providers for college campuses here in the US, and also at Regis, has been accused of paying poverty wages, cutting hours, and offering its employees unaffordable health insurance. Meanwhile students are paying high prices for low quality food, and contributing their money to a corporation that mistreats its employees. The purpose of the campaign is that we want to show Sodexo workers that we appreciate them, but find that Sodexo as a company does not fit in with the Regis motto of 'How Ought We to Live?"
Students wore purple on campus to show support for workers rights and to send a message to Sodexo management and university decision makers. Students also filled out hundreds of comment cards, reflecting on the poor quality of food and their continuing support of the workers. "The workers are the only reason why I still eat at Sodexo. The food is AWFUL! But the workers try to make your eating experiences better,” said one Regis student. Another student comments, “"The workers here deserve better. We are a Jesuit University, let's start acting like one!"
In a speech to classmates in the Sodexo dining hall, Jon Denzler stated, “Workers have a right to organize, have decent pay, and affordable health care benefits. We think at Regis University, as a Jesuit School, when we ask “How Ought We to Live?” maybe our campus food providers should fit into that model as well. We also think that whoever the food service provider is, the workers should be hired back. These aren’t just workers, they are our friends.”
The new food service provider, Bon Apetit, will be on campus beginning in July.