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INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY

New pizza, organic items on the menu


Binghamton students buy pizza from Sbarro in the Food Court at the University Union.
Changes at the University Union Food Court and the College-in-the- Woods Dining Hall mean that diners have new and, in some cases, healthier options when eating on campus.

CIW’s menu has been transformed into a wellness-oriented smorgasboard, said Bob Griffi n, marketing manager for Sodexho Campus Services.

“We have long understood that this campus, in keeping with prevailing student trends, needed to really have someplace where a full-blown wellness/ balanced menu was consistently available,” he said.

The new offerings at CIW include organic retail items such as peanut butter, snacks and soups; free-range eggs; whole wheat bread and pasta; organic milk and juices; and additions to the salad bar.

“Instead of putting fried chicken out, we’re putting out grilled chicken or baked chicken,” Griffi n said. “That’s the kind of thing we’re doing to make it a wellness-oriented menu.”

Biodegradable to-go ware is available, too.

“We’re trying to approach it as holistically as we possibly can,” Griffi n said.

The effort at CIW could be a precursor to a 100 percent organic kitchen on campus, he said, although it will be challenging to offer organic produce year-round while keeping costs under control.

Griffi n noted that anyone can get a balanced menu anytime at any of the dining halls on campus. The difference at CIW now is that every item on the entree menu fi ts into a balanced meal. And, he said, if the changes are well received the concept may spread to additional locations.

The Food Court, on the other hand, largely remains a fastfood oasis.

Sbarro and Jazzman’s have taken up residence at the Food Court this semester, while the Freshėns smoothie stand has moved to a new location with its own cash register.

Sbarro replaced an existing pizza operation, but customers respond differently to the national brand, Griffi n said.

“National brands just do amazing things to improve the perception of quality,” he said, adding that the volume of pizza sales tripled from a year ago in the fi rst three days.

Jazzman’s, meanwhile, has brought more than basic coffee to the Food Court for the fi rst time. Like the location in Academic A, the Food Court spot has already proved popular.

“We’re very proud of its performance here on this campus,” Griffi n said, noting that Jazzman’s is owned by Sodexho but run as an independent company.

Jazzman’s and the relocated smoothie operation open up possibilities for summer hours, Griffi n said, though it’s too soon to say for sure whether that will happen.

He did lay one rumor to rest, however: Quizno’s is not coming to the Food Court. There were discussions with the sub-maker, Griffi n said, but its demands in terms of space were more than Sodexho could accommodate without major renovations. Sub Connection is here to stay, at least for now.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08