On Nov. 27, student organization leaders across campus received an email regarding a change in the process for catering requests on campus. Instead of budgeting for food from outside vendors, student organizations are now required to conduct all food-related purchases through Metz via Engage.
Assistant Dean of Campus Life, Sharese Shannon Mathis said that students should look at the catering guide, get an idea of what they want to order and work with the Office of Campus Life to facilitate it. She added that with the new changes, “an event that would cost $500 elsewhere could end up being a portion of that because most people have meal plans and then you can pay for people who are off-board.”
According to the email, budget requests should include the event’s date, time, location and guest count. For events that exceed 15 attendees, students must provide Campus Life with a two-week notice, Mathis added.
Honors College Staff Director Renée Kreger, said it’s “difficult” to properly estimate the number of attendees for events. When she found herself planning the honors program’s annual end-of-semester celebration, she had to estimate 300 people would come.
“I’m feeding maybe 125 to 150 students who are not going to just take a plate. Students don’t just take a slice of something and go sit down,” Kreger said. “When you have something that looks good and is different than what you usually eat, you’re going to have multiple plates.”
For Kreger, events are about “building community” and making people feel like they belong, and food is an important part of building that community.
“I think it’s a treat for the students. They see food and they want to come to events. My worry is they’re going to not start coming to events because they know it’s the same food as Baldwin,” Kreger said. “Campus gives money for us to engage the students and create a sense of community, but I can’t do fun things if there’s no food. If there’s no food, nobody’s coming.”
General Manager of Metz Culinary Management Jeff Davis said the money made from catering orders and requests “goes back to the college.”
“A common misconception among students was that Metz is taking over all the catering and we’re making money off of it. But the reality is, we are a fee-based account,” Davis said. “The idea is to keep the money in-house. It allows the college not to spend as much money which can be reinvested”
Davis and his team are prepared to communicate with students about this transition and meet their needs.
“ I like to make sure that we work with student organizations if there’s a certain flavor profile they’re looking for,” Davis said. “We want to make sure that they can taste it as well. It’s something we have to do to make sure that we’re being authentic.”
According to that email, authenticity takes time; specialized or cultural food orders require three weeks’ notice.
Students with further questions and/or concerns are welcome to meet with the Metz staff or submit an inquiry.