Sodexo Dining and Plourde Recreation Undergo Changes

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Bethany Sampson's picture
Alexandra Caulway

Two major services on Assumption College’s campus are undergoing some administrative and program changes. Sodexo Dining Services has appointed a new general manager, Kathleen Hanwell, and Jaron Rider has left his former position as Director of Recreation.

Mike Ward, the previous general manager of Dining Services on campus, has moved on to work on a special project with Sodexo at Fordham University in New York. Hanwell took up the position at the end of July and has many years of experience working with colleges, having worked in dining services at institutions such as Pennsylvania State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Boston College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Every school has its own different culture,” she said. “One of the things that attracted me here was the sense of community.”

Hanwell plans to use that sense of community to build upon the programs that Ward developed during his five years here.

“I’d love to start getting some student input on what you’d like to see happening,” she said. “You’ll start to see some subtle changes as the semester goes on.”

According to Hanwell, the dining services team is working on ideas about new ways to compensate for the campus cash program that was discontinued, which was a decision made by the college and not dining services. Along with that, a new webpage,, was created, where updates on dining programs and services can be found.  

“We have a healthy program that’s starting here, [called] Mindful,” said Hanwell of changes that are already taking place.  “We’re going to be starting a program called Simple Servings, which offers the people with allergies a hot option five nights a week.”

Sodexo Dining Services will be continuing some of the crowd favorites, such as bistro night and AC Iron Chef. Cooking classes will be showing up in the future.

Students will get the chance to voice their opinions at a Food Committee meeting on October 3 in the Marriott Room of Taylor Dining Hall. More details on this event will be available in the coming weeks.

“I want to hear what the students think,” said Hanwell.

Over at Plourde Recreation Center, different kinds of changes are happening. The position of Director of Campus Recreation has yet to be filled. Rider, who went to work at Sam Houston State University in Texas, left Assumption College after five years of working as the director.  

According to senior Andrea Dillon, Marketing Intern with Campus Recreation, Rider’s role will be reworked, but a new staff member will eventually be hired in his place.

“The whole structure, everything, is changing completely in there, but it’s kind of still in the works of everything,” said Dillon.  At the moment, Eric Wojitowicz is running the campus recreation part of things, and athletics is still separate, but the departments are working to combine.

Plourde Recreation Center has been renovated to provide more space for athletes to work out. For example, three of the racquetball courts have been transformed into athlete-exclusive weight rooms. This is meant to make the weight room upstairs in the Plourde less crowded for the rest of the gym users on campus, especially during the peak hours of the day when athletes and recreational users are all trying to work out at the same time.
“Rec has priority to a certain extent, but athletes still have the right to use it,” said Dillon.

As for the aerobics room, it will still primarily be used for fitness classes and dance team practices. However, some of the other campus programs are going to be different.

“I know for club sports and intramurals they’re going to have to book rooms sooner,” said Dillon. “Because if it’s open, athletics can kind of take it at that point, if they need the space.”

Many changes have not taken place in the upstairs workout rooms in the Plourde, but during the winter season, Dillon expects there to be more athlete-specific time built into the hours of the recreation center.

“They’re making it into one whole section as opposed to two different entities,” said Dillon.

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