Events on campus are one of the best parts of college life. Student organizations often end up throwing events that allow students to make great memories with close friends and feel excited about being on campus. However, soaring catering prices experienced during the transition from Aramark to Sodexo can make it a lot harder for organizations to host these events.
The International Club hosted their first Around the World Wednesday of the year last month and they had to pay a much higher price than expected. Last year the average was about $600 for each Around the World Wednesday serving roughly 90-100 students, but the event they hosted last month was $1100 to feed 65 people.
On Oct. 6, the Asian American Student Association (AASA) threw an event in the MUC pit also involving food. Their Boba Night came with a high price tag. The event cost $1250 to feed only 100 people. This ends up coming out to $12.50 per student, way more than most organizations on campus can handle. The treasurer of AASA, Aditya Bhagavatula, said he wasn’t as involved with the finances last year, so he isn’t sure of the exact difference in cost, but does know last year’s costs were much cheaper.
Both of these organizations are fairly large and therefore have bigger budgets, but what about the smaller organizations that want to host bigger events like German Club? Those smaller clubs don’t have the membership for a big budget but still want to provide USD with interesting and exciting events. With prices like $12.50 per student, a smaller organization would not be able to host an event where they feed people.
Sodexo is a big reason for the high prices. Even for USD Housing staff, if resident assistants (RA) want to have a program with food for their floor, they have to use Sodexo as the caterer or Sodexo has to approve the reason why the RA would want to use a different caterer, or even make food themselves. This decision is at the discretion of Sodexo.
Student organization sponsored events are special and one of the places magical college moments can happen. These events would not happen if not for the hard working students who dedicate their valuable time to the clubs and groups they are most passionate about. With Sodexo restricting their budgets with high catering costs, organizations might have to limit the number of events they have.
Ultimately, the rising prices Sodexo is charging students is unreasonable. Sodexo was supposed to make the dining situation on campus better, they certainly haven’t done their job. If they want to improve, they can start with making the prices friendlier for students and the organizations on campus they love.