With Aramark replacing Sodexo as the new dining service provider, students can expect many changes when it comes to eating on campus.
The traditional dining halls of East Campus will feature different menus, and the micro-restaurants located on the second floor of West Village have been exchanged for other alternatives.
Another change of Aramark’s is the expansion of Kosher options to accommodate students who follow these dietary laws.
Last year was the first year that featured a Kosher option for the Jewish population at Tech: within the Student Center, diners could purchase a Kosher sandwich or frozen meal with dining dollars.
This year, hot meals and sandwiches will be available per request in Britain and North Ave as a meal swipe. The options at the Student Center will still be available on dining dollars and will be delivered with greater frequency to minimize freeze time.
As part of his position as a board member of the Jewish organization Chabad, 3rd-year CS Eitan Abramovich worked directly with Aramark to secure this expansion of Kosher dining. Noting the popularity of Chabad’s barbecue dinners on Tuesday nights as well as the Tuesday bagel breaks provided by another Jewish organization Hillel, Abramovich saw a need to increase dining options for students. He discussed how he viewed this development as an opportunity to increase diversity and inclusion within Tech.
“It is no longer a choice between being social and eating Kosher: now students can eat with their friends and do both,” Abramovich said. “[This] bring[s] more diversity which is necessary for the flow of ideas and [for] innovation to thrive.”
In alignment with Tech’s Strategic Plan for Institute Diversity which aims “to enhance a culture of collegiality, close collaboration, global perspective, intercultural sensitivity and respect and thoughtful interaction,” more students weighed in on how these new additions to Kosher dining can create a more inclusive campus.
“People can’t move here if they can’t eat,” second-year CS Dan Jutan said. “It’s important for Tech to recruit passionate, talented, and committed students … to support all who want to call Tech home.”
Jutan recalled the dilemmas he and 2nd-year APHY Shaun Regenbaum faced during their first year at Tech without a meal plan. Having to miss out on the social aspects of sharing meals with other students made it an even harder challenge for them to meet new people.
Although both friends look forward to using the new dining options, Regenbaum remains cautiously optimistic.
“I also know there is a long way to go in order to make this something that can accommodate the larger Jewish population,” said Regenbaum. “One good example is that in the fall semester there are a lot of Jewish holidays around October that prevent Observant Jews from attending class and doing their work. Having a culture in terms of teachers where this is understood can make it a lot more comfortable for Jewish students to approach their teachers.”
Advocating for more students to help address the concerns within their community, Regenbaum extended his desire for a more inclusive culture to the campus at large, advocating for wider involvement.
“Everyone needs to try to help the communities they find themselves in,” he said. “I guess we are just trying to find our places in a new community, and doing what we can when we can.”