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UMKC Dives into the Foodiverse, Aiming to Transform the Student Dining Experience

New dining services coming to campus
UMKC+Student+Union.
Brooke Trammel
UMKC Student Union.

 Edit: An older version of this story stated an incorrect date for this launch of the new dining services. Roo News will follow up and continue to update this story. 

  UMKC Dining Services is moving to the Student Union to be closer to UMKC residential life, called the “Foodiverse.” The timing of this change is still under development.

Under this new plan, student union employees will cook the food in front of customers at separate stations, like pizza or a grill station, and meals will be served “food court” style.

  There won’t be chain food establishments that students are familiar with, rather the new dining facility will serve Sodexo products, UMKC’s food supplier, from their “Simple Servings” plan. This plan serves hot meals prepared without eight of the nine most common allergens, a more recent change made by dining services to be more inclusive to different allergies.

  Gray Robison, a 19-year-old student, resident and RA in Johnson Hall has hesitations about the new dining hall plan. 

  “I like the fact that we are going to have multiple options, but I wish it were foods we recognized,” Robinson said. “Chick-fil-A and Baja Fresh are the only times students get a break from Sodexo dining hall food.”

  Since the plan is still being developed by UMKC’s food supplier, Sodexo, there are questions about keeping the all-you-can-eat concept or changing policies to allow only one meal swipe per food station.

  Dining Services is still in the process of figuring out how meal swipes and flex bucks will come into play with the new program.  

  Although Chick-fil-A and Baja Fresh will be closing, the dining hall will remain open during construction and the bottom floor of the Atterbury Student Success Center will be repurposed by the university.

  “We are here to feed and nourish their bodies and brains,” said Kelly Matthews, operations manager for UMKC’s Dining Services. 

  University leaders went to the University of Denver-Colorado, where the Foodiverse is already implemented to see if it suits UMKC, when making their decision to renew their five-year contract with Sodexo and implement the changes.   

  UMKC has a student-led culinary council that meets with Sodexo once a month. This is where Sodexo gets its main form of feedback. Sodexo values students’ opinions because “without the students, we wouldn’t be here,” Matthews said. 

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