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Brandeis dining services to host new events

Dining hall food is often a contentious issue at Brandeis. Some students see the dining hall as a necessity, while others forgo the service entirely, opting instead to cook for themselves. In an effort to improve the quality and experience at the dining halls, Brandeis Dining Services has planned some exciting new events this year to share with its students. This week, The Brandeis Hoot spoke to Andrew Allen, general manager of dining services at Brandeis.

In the past, Brandeis students have inquired about having a more exciting and interactive dining hall service. In response, Allen said, “This semester we have a ton of awesome events planned.” Among the various events being hosted, there will be a raffle for “specialty items from Coke for the Super Bowl at the Stein, celebrating Mardi Gras in the dining halls and offering an Elite Event, Steak Night on Feb. 24 in Usdan for dinner.” These events will be designed to allow maximum participation by students.

Additionally, in order to celebrate National Nutrition Month in March, Allen noted that dining services will be “bringing in Andy Berler, the creator of the nationwide fitness phenomenon known as BMAX and professional trainer for the New England Patriots Cheerleaders to hold a free fitness class on March 23 from 5 to 6 p.m. in Sherman Function Hall. A smoothie bar and door prizes will be offered at that event as well.”

Sodexo will also be holding two national sweepstakes that students can enter to win prizes. Details can be found at www.brandeis.sodexomyway.com.

Allen also spoke about new trends in what he described as the “modern collegiate dining” experience. As Allen commented, the new college dining consumer “is far more advanced in their expectations than when [Allen] first started in 1987.”

“We need to offer a wide variety of foods that can be enjoyed by all,” Allen said. “We must continue to review and make adjustments to the menus and offerings to prevent folks from becoming tired of eating in the same operations day in and day out.”

While Allen is new to campus, he has over 20 years of experience in the industry. In particular, he has found the dining team to be very dedicated and motivated. “That team consists of everyone,” he said, “from the person who makes sure the tables are clean, dishes out on the serving line, the cooks and supervisors, to the management team. As I look at our staff and still see some of the very same folks I worked with in 1987, I see such a dedication to the community. My job is to lead this great team to bring to the students what they all desire—good tasting food and service each and every day.”

Among the popular events being brought back to campus is the Elite Steakhouse Event, which Allen said had such great feedback that they will be bringing it back on Feb. 24. Allen also noted that there will be a Harry Potter themed night in the dining hall on March 30.

According to Allen, the most important element in these events is involving students and developing some of their ideas for the community. “It brings additional variety and complements the goal of keeping the program fresh and exciting,” he said.

Many students may see dining services only as a source for meals. However, Allen noted, “some events can bring an educational opportunity that can help folks make healthy choices, learn about new types of foods they might not have seen before, and bring a better understanding of the food we eat every day. Events can just be fun to bring a relief to the day to day; others can bring a sense of social responsibility or education from a food perspective.”

With a whole palette of exciting events planned for this year at the dining halls, Brandeis students are in for a delectable treat.

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