Sodexo to assist in New Mexico State Housing Department


Zack Jimenez

Chamisa Village.

Sources have confirmed that Sodexo will be getting involved with New Mexico State University’s Housing Department in the coming weeks. The lack of transparency over the third-party food vendor’s control on the NMSU campus seems to keep growing and it now has reached a new target of students.

Auxiliary Services are a self supporting branch of NMSU who employ/contract with Sodexo. The department does not have the means to properly feed the university’s population, therefore they hired Sodexo to be the primary food service for the campus. Sodexo’s contract with Auxiliary Services have been detailed in a previous article, Cheap Eats as well as the company taking over the former convenience stores in a  follow-up article.

The Round Up sat down with Dwayne Wisniewski the general manager of Sodexo on the NMSU campus to discuss their involvement with housing and the transfer of management on the convenience stores.

“I see us expanding to help the students and be partners with the university,” Wisniewski boldly stated.

Jeannina Pratt a freshman studying electrical and computer engineering technology told The Round Up her concerns with the company growing on campus.

“I just fear that prices will go up from what they already were,” Pratt stated.

Wisniewski added that the newly operated stores will be providing the university population with Sodexo’s “Grab & Go” products. Those items include pre-made salads, sandwiches and snacks.

When asked about why the company took over the stores, he responded that Steve Bettner, the Assistant Vice President for Auxiliary Services is the one who approached Sodexo on the transition. Wisniewski also failed to comment on the question of what their plans were to get involved with the housing department are.

The Round Up attempted to sit down with Bettner for an interview on multiple occasions, but due to scheduling conflicts Mr. Bettner has not been able to follow up. Bettner did respond to a list of questions through an email regarding why he approached Sodexo on assisting the housing department.

“Sodexo is a world-class provider of hospitality services and has been a valued partner to NMSU,” Bettner said. “To achieve these lofty goals and thus elevate the brand and image of the institution requires an open mind and a change in paradigm from the way things have always been done.”

Sodexo’s contract is set to expire on June 30, 2019. So any assistance that the company will be providing for the housing department will end when the contract does. Bettner can not comment on what exactly the company will be doing for the department at the moment.

But he did add, “What can be confirmed is that if an agreement is reached, Sodexo’s role will be to support and enhance our current services by providing infrastructure, including back office systems and additional personnel, as deemed both necessary and appropriate by the University.”

Lawrence Hittle, the president of the Residence Hall Association (the governing body for those students who live on campus) has some strong opinions towards the matter.

“The lack of transparency between students, faculty, employees of housing are just not there,” Hittle said.

Lawrence Hittle has been working/involved with the Housing Department since fall of 2013. During his time with the department, he has had very inconsistent higher ups such as a Director of Housing. Matt Crouse the former Director of Housing resigned in late September of this past year.

Sources have concluded that during Crouse’s time as Director of Housing –  was not a pleasant experience. According to staff members, they felt “uncomfortable” towards his actions.

 Hittle does commend the work that Crouse has done in the efforts of closing down Greek Housing for financial reasons and other aspects that would have put Housing in financial troubles.

“Housing has always looked at privatizing with other companies in order to save themselves from the hole they’re in,” Hittle said. “I do however oppose any involvement with Sodexo getting involved with Housing.”

Hittle stated that the Residence Hall Association has yet to be asked to be on a committee to find the new Director of housing. Currently the Interim-Director of Housing is Greg Block who was unwilling to comment on the situation.

Hittle has expressed the frustration it is to be a student leader and not know what direction the Housing Department is going in.

“I like to be in the know and many other people would appreciate that too,” Hittle said.

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