A lot has happened in the last week on Lakeland’s campus. Students have either left or are in the middle of a two–week–long period of self-isolation. This, of course, is not exactly something to celebrate in the minds of these students as the concept of consistency has been thrown out the window. However, one thing remains constant, as it always has in the past, Lakeland’s Dining Services.
Dining services has gone to great lengths to ensure students still on-campus do not have to worry about getting their three meals a day.
“We must make sure that we are doing things in a timely and efficient manner. We also have to make sure we are preparing the product in a healthy manner,” stated Director of Dining Services, Mark Wagner.
Lakeland has always prioritized its students and faculty, ensuring they get food without losing the quality they would receive if they had gone straight to the cafeteria.
But to be able to provide the food, they need to ensure they actually have it, and it can’t be just any food.
“Things we keep in mind is obviously price and quality,” said Wagner. “We want to make sure we are supplying a quality product to our students and staff.”
Constant monitoring to get good quality food for a good price is not enough as they also have to keep in mind quantity, which can be affected by many factors outside of their control.
However, ensuring students get consistent healthy meals for the right price was already a challenge before the recent pandemic of COVID-19.
“Some supply issues we have had are when weather takes a toll on crops and when unforeseen issues happen at meatpacking plants,” explained Wagner.
Now, this has become a much more difficult challenge than before.
“Companies are having a hard time keeping up with the demand at this point,” said Wagner. “We had to adjust our menus strictly because of the lack of supply of certain foods, and this has its challenges.”
The fact that they have to juggle and keep all of these things in mind is astounding by itself, but when one adds in the student response to the food served, it’s a whole new battle.
“Delivering meals to students can be a hard process because not everyone eats the same thing,” said Wagner.
Health conditions, religious practices, metabolisms, allergies, and so much more can prevent a student from being able to eat the food prepared for them.
However, this does not matter to them. Even with all of these added difficulties, dining services are not backing down.
“…we will always do what the students want and need,” Wagner confidently stated.