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Sodexo’s Saga Shift

Editor’s note: This article was printed in the Aug. 31 issue of The Oracle. Since then, Sodexo has implemented paper straws in the cafeteria.

Oral Roberts University has experienced some new variations over the past couple of months. Specifically, the Hamill Dining Hall, commonly known to the students as “Saga,” contains some of the latest campus changes.

Students have expressed sentiments requesting more space for lines and tables. In response, Saga incorporated more tables by moving them diagonally which also helped to minimize tripping over chairs.

General Manager of Campus Dining Alvin Tupas discussed the benefits of the new table setup in the cafeteria.

“The purpose is to help with the flow of traffic. We wanted to make it harder to move the tables for stability, but students will be students,” stated Tupas.

Saga previously seated 600 students and can now seat a total of 750 with the new layout. The purpose is to help with the crowd especially on chapel days when the traffic is heaviest.

One of the most noticeable differences among returning students is the absence of plastic straws. The dining facilities wanted to follow suit from other businesses and universities by decreasing its environmental impact.

Along with the chairs, tables and lack of plastic straws have come new food stations.

Saga features new locations for the fruit station, cooled desserts and a revamped “Taste of Home” section.
Photo by Alejandro Contreras

Saga introduced food options such as a “Taste of Home” section that is equipped with two self-serving stations, hoping to reduce the continuous lines.

“Taste of Home” was incorporated to help mimic familiarity. We want the students to feel at home,” said Tupas.

To help incorporate the familiarity aspect, students and international students can submit recipes to the cafeteria workers. Instructions for submitting recipes can be found on the television monitors in the cafeteria.

“We try our best to mimic the recipes and even purchase the international spices,” Tupas added.

On Mondays, the “Taste of Home” section also turns into “Meatless Mondays.” The station will only serve side items of vegetable assortments.

According to Tupas, phase one of the cafeteria renovations started in 2017. A year and a half ago, they received funding for new food stations and new countertops. In the summer of 2018, phase two of the refurbishing was completed.

With the help of a student focus group and the effort of the workers, they were able to implement and introduce the new choices to Saga. The improvements include a new dessert section, a beverage counter and self-serve options. Saga also contains more international spices, salad bars on both sides and options for cooled desserts like parfaits and Jell-O.

Saga also provides a vegan and vegetarian station, the traditional burger and pizza station, the sandwich and wrap station and an international chef station. With all the new changes, their goal is to remain flexible.

“The trends are always changing, and we want to be flexible,” said Tupas. “We want to meet expectations and support the mission of the university. Therefore, the students are our top priority.”