Fiorella Beccaglia Managing Editor
Chartwells is Eastern’s official food vendor. The university and Chartwells have an extensive contract, and they provide all the food on campus— from what you eat at Hurley, to the Student Center food court, to the library cafe, and even at campus events. Chartwells essentially has a monopoly on food at Eastern.
Their presence is so strong that student clubs and organizations must abide to a very important rule: if they want to get food from another restaurant or catering service, it cannot cost more than $150. This way, all big events must be catered through Chartwells, and recent controversy has emerged as part of this restriction. Even though waivers exist, they are very limited and often denied.
Let’s be honest, everyone knows that Hurley food isn’t the greatest. Although the food at Eastern has gotten better since I was a first-year student, no one wants to eat food from Chartwells all the time. Mostly at social events, like the ones the Campus Activity Board or other clubs organized for students. And mostly when events have to do with gastronomic diversity and contributing to cultural awareness, such as the Organization of Latin American Students’ (O.L.A.S.) Latin Fest. In this case, Chartwells’ refused to waive their request to get authentic Latin American food. This decision led to a lot of disappointment from students because the food tasted like Hurley food. What does Chartwells really know about making Colombian arepas and Mexican enchiladas? Nothing.
This is not the only example that comes to mind. As a part of Eastern’s Student Government Association (SGA), I had to deal with the $150 restriction all the time when organizing events. Ultimately, I know that Chartwells could lose a lot of money of the restriction was entirely abolished and that the university has a strict contract with them that cannot be simply undermined. However, they should at least make it more lenient on special occasions such as cultural events. Students pay a lot of money to come to Eastern, and even though Hurley food is getting better, students should be able to find more diversity in what we are served on campus.