Campus, News

BU Dining Services updates feedback system

Boston University Dining Services changed its feedback mechanisms this semester, adding e360 feedback scanners as an alternative to the “Happy or Not” feedback devices in the dining halls and hosting in-person student feedback sessions. 

Students walking into Boston University’s Marciano Commons dining hall.
Students walking into Boston University’s Marciano Commons dining hall. Boston University Dining Services has a new feedback system this year. HUI-EN LIN/DFP FILE

“We recognized the need for a more comprehensive approach to gathering feedback,” Lynn Cody, director of marketing for BU dining services, wrote in an email. “e360 allows us to move beyond simple yes or no questions, allowing us to gather much more detailed feedback, along with suggestions, and insights.”

In addition to the new feedback tools, BU is also holding feedback sessions about dining services throughout October and November. The first feedback session was Tuesday at Bay State Underground in the Marciano Commons Dining Hall. Four students attended alongside staff members including dining hall chefs and managers. 

“These sessions are an opportunity for students to learn more about upcoming BU Dining menus, concepts, and initiatives and engage in a two-way dialogue around your dining program,” Cody wrote.

Around 10,000 students eat in the dining halls anywhere from one to three times per day, according to BU spokesperson Colin Riley. 

Riley said he expects an increase in student feedback with the new e360 tool and stated the importance of student feedback to the dining hall. He emphasized the dining hall’s efforts regarding the “freshness and quality” of the food served. 

“It’s always good not just to see what people write, but to hear them express it and explain to get a deeper understanding of what they’re actually saying around a particular question,” Riley said. 

Giulia Jovine, an exchange student from the University of Padua in Italy studying clinical psychology, attended the feedback session, said there are differences between her college dining experiences in America and Europe. 

“I really appreciated the feedback session because I think it was a way to share whatever we like or we don’t like,” Jovine said. “It was also really nice to meet the chefs and the people that really work behind the dining halls and see how much effort they try to put in to get better every time.”

Jovine’s requests for the dining halls include more cooked vegetables in the Warren and West dining halls and more various choices on a day to day basis, rather than carbohydrates or protein taking over the dining halls for a day. 

Jovine said she sees herself using the new QR code feedback system in the future.

“Meeting the guy that works behind it and seeing that they’re really open to suggestions and to feedback, now I feel more comfortable sharing a few things,” Jovine said.

Demian Choi, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, said he believes the quality of the dining hall food went down this year and thinks last year’s dining plan was “more affordable” than the options available this year.

Choi suggested giving dining hall workers from various backgrounds and ethnicities the opportunity to contribute their own recipes. 

Nzna Nguyen, a sophomore in CAS, also has the unlimited dining plan and preferred last year’s dining plans as well. Nguyen typically uses the Rhetty To Go meal options in the dining hall due to her busy schedule.

“To make it as flexible for me as possible, I needed to use the to-go meal plans because otherwise, I can’t eat in the dining halls,” Nguyen said. “The fact that I get 21 meal swipes a week does not automatically mean I have the time to sit in the dining halls 21 times.” 

Nguyen said the to-go meals seem like an “afterthought” for the dining hall staff. 

“If people understood that to-go meals were a thing, both on the student side and on the management side, then I think the higher quality, like the standardization would be there,” Nguyen said. 

Regarding the e360 feedback, Nguyen said she is open to using it if she finds out more about it and spends more time in the dining hall. She recommended that dining services offer to compensate students with convenience points like Nguyen remembers dining services offering last year to increase student turnout at the feedback sessions. 

“I think that’s why lots of people turned out and we had lots of engaging conversations,” she said.

The last feedback session will be held on Nov. 14, with additional sessions in the spring, Cody wrote. She added that students can also reach out to dining services “in person” and “through a DM.”

“We want students to feel comfortable sharing feedback with us,” Cody wrote. “Our goal is to ensure that students have the ability to share their feedback with us so we can continue to enhance our program and ensure students have a great experience dining with us.”

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