By Adam Hornbuckle
Among the changes on campus this semester that have the student body buzzing are the changes to the food service. The changes this semester include things that students can see and feel, but this change the students can taste. The revamping of the food services is largely a result of the new leadership of the Aramark team on campus.
Ed Taraskewich, the president district manager of Aramark at the Post and Brooklyn campuses, and Dave Jagsarran, the director of catering services, are now leading the campus Aramark team.
Jagsarran came to Post in June, three months ago. He has 17 years of experience leading food service teams at two nearby universities, serving as the director of catering at SUNY Stony Brook for 12 years and at Columbia University for five years in the same role.
Jagsarran has led an effort to revamp the catering department on campus, expanding menus and making catering more affordable for clubs and organizations. Presentation is one of Jagsarran’s focuses.
“We want to make people’s dining experience exciting again.” He said that the biggest strength of the new Aramark team was “teamwork; we don’t play.”
Taraskewich has been heading the Aramark team since April. He has been in higher education food service for 25 years and has worked at universities across the nation, including at M.I.T., St.John’s and Texas A&M. The new leadership team, he said, aims at delivering the best quality products, and consistency.
“One thing I’m big on, today’s achievements don’t become roadblocks to future success,” he said. “We’re not a specialty food, we’re everything food. We have to be everything, which means always being on top of what’s good for your customers and the students that go here. It’s always a work in progress.”
Along with the changes in Aramark’s on-campus leadership have come several logistical changes to Aramark’s operation at Post. The Winnick POD has been remodeled and now carries an expanded line of frozen foods, snack, cereals, toiletries, and a soon-to-be gluten free station.
The Winnick POD will be open 6-11 p.m., seven days a week. Last year, it was open from 7-11 p.m., five days a week. The Humanities POD has closed, for unspecified reasons. Hillwood Cafe now offers homemade fruit smoothies and daily specials. The menus for Winnick will be available in advance on liu. campusdish.com. A new menu will be offered in the End Zone for late night dining.
There have been behind-the-scenes changes, as well. Aramark has introduced a new training program that focuses on customer service and food safety. “We want to train our team members to be the best in their position; that’s an Aramark philosophy,” Taraskewich said.
Some students have noticed the changes this semester. “I do see some changes that aren’t as noticeable, but are still there,” said Miranda Alldaffer, a sophomore biomedicine major. “The food that they’re catering now is a lot more diverse so that’s great to see, and there have been some good additions to Winnick like the new flavored water machines. I know they’re not big changes like everyone is expecting but there are little improvements.”
“Aramark has really stepped up this year,” said Brianna Pisano, a senior accounting major, and the student government president. “They have stepped up on all levels including customer service, quality of the food and their dedication to delivering the students the best product they can. They truly want to make sure everyone campus wide is enjoying their dining experience and they are putting their best foot forward to prove that, it’s very encouraging to see.”
Abby VanVlerah, dean of students, said that the changes have been good. “Students have largely responded positively to the new options Aramark offers both in catering and in the campus dining facilities,” she said. “The new management has put a great deal of work into increasing the quality of offerings and customer service. We are fortunate to have so many dining options on a campus of our size.”
Editor’s Note: Adam Hornbuckle is the vice president of the student government association.