Students Wary of Simpson Dining Changes

Carly Behm | The PHOENIXAramark, the company that provides Loyola’s dining services, said the switch to allergen-friendliness in Simpson Dining Hall will add options for Islamic halal requirements, gluten-free diets, vegetarians, vegans and other nut and dairy allergies.

The revamped Simpson Dining Hall has received mixed reactions since it was renovated to accommodate students with dietary restrictions.

In October, Aramark announced it would add an allergy-friendly zone, a gluten-free zone and a vegan zone in order to give those with dietary restrictions more options for dining on campus.

The changes to Simpson Dining were implemented over winter break and include new plates and utensils, in addition to a replacement of dairy milk with lactose-free milk.

In an email to The Phoenix, Monique Bonanno, the marketing manager for Loyola Dining, said Simpson Dining Hall was converted to accommodate those with various dietary restrictions.

“These new food stations are aimed at providing equal opportunity to enjoy dining services regardless of their food allergy, sensitivity or preference,” Bonanno said.

However, some students said they haven’t been fans of the change.

Nick Boyle, 18, a first-year majoring in political science, said the lack of options concerns him.

“I’ve gone to Simpson a few times this past semester, and they only have … maybe three pots [of food] … over the whole space, and that just doesn’t make sense,” Boyle said. “They are catering to those with allergies, but at the same time they don’t serve that much food anymore. It leads me to wonder, is this really a good use of the area?”

Jack Brinker, 18, a first-year majoring in information systems who’s a vegetarian, said he doesn’t eat at Simpson Dining since the changes were implemented. 

“Last semester, I went to Simpson way more than any other dining hall,” Brinker said. “The phrase that is going around with my friends is that we’re ‘fed up with not being fed,’ and we’re saying this because we really only have two dining halls to choose from now.”

Other students enjoy having a dining hall they know will be accessible for their needs.

Elaina Richards, 18, a first-year sociology and communication studies double major, is a vegetarian and has been trying to go vegan. She said she was excited when she learned there would be vegan options in Simpson.

“Like everybody else, the first week of school I was kind of skeptical because comments [from other students] have said breakfast is entirely changed,” Richards said. “They don’t have the omelette station anymore, mainly. But that was never important to me.” She says she enjoys the bean, chickpea and vegetable options Simpson offers.

Still, like many students, Richards said she was disappointed that Simpson didn’t have milk, ice cream machines or coffee creamer.

“I think they could have things that … people who aren’t trying to eat in a super-restricted way have a little bit more option,” Richards said.

Mary Elloye, 19, a first-year student majoring in health systems management on a pre-med track, has a similar view. She said she eats at Simpson almost every day with friends who have dietary restrictions.

“I think that the changes in general are good in theory, but as far as the actual food goes, it lacks a lot of variety,” Elloye said. “I’ve gone to lunch … every single day for two weeks now, and the lunches are pretty much the same.”

According to Bonanno, Loyola’s dining service Aramark has received positive feedback regarding the changes as well as feedback on food options students would like to see.

“Eggs will be added to breakfast, milk will be available daily, a made to order pasta bar and made to order stir fry will be added to the menu rotation and chicken wings will be featured on Fridays,” Bonanno said.

On February 2, signs appeared at dining areas around Lake Shore Campus announcing that starting at 7 a.m. February 5 Simpson Dining would again be serving eggs and milk.

Bonanno also noted that the number of people utilizing Simpson Dining hasn’t lowered drastically since these changes.

“The changes to Simpson Dining Hall were a direct response to student needs and provides parents with peace of mind when their student is away at school,” Bonanno said in an email to The Phoenix. “It supports the living and learning environment on campus by ensuring residential dining offerings meet the needs of all students regardless of specific menu or ingredients needs and requests.”

Aramark declined to comment for this story and directed The Phoenix to Bonanno.

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