Tigers Against Aramark becomes Tigers For Ethical Dining – Trinitonian
Tigers for Ethical Dining advocates for positive change in the dining experience
The student organization Tigers Against Aramark (TAA) was renamed Tigers For Ethical Dining (TFED) in July 2022 as it contacted Trinity administration during the Request for Proposals (RFP) process. In the summer of 2020, Tigers Against Aramark (TAA) was created by a group of students unhappy with the actions and dealings of Trinity University’s food supplier, Aramark.
Aramark is well known as a food supplier for college students, but they also serve food in about 500 US prisons. In some cases, incarcerated people also pack food for the company. TAA argued that through this business practice, Aramark is supporting the prison system that disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
Since 2020, TAA has expressed its desire to see Trinity University terminate its contract with Aramark. With funding from Trinity, TAA conducted a feasibility study last year, but it was determined that the on-site restoration option TAA hoped to implement would be too costly for Trinity. The feasibility study involved interviews with students, administration and Aramark employees and how alternative dining options would influence Trinity’s presence as an elite institution. According to Brandon Niday, senior political science and economics major and TFED fellow, the results of the study were disappointing.
“We are discouraged by this… But we can improve our dining room from what it is now,” Niday said.
Since the results of this study, TAA has renamed itself TFED and expanded its objectives. Ani Siva, a second-year neuroscience student and member of TFED, explained the purpose of TFED’s rebranding.
“TAA was a position against something. TFED is support for something,” Siva said.
TFED believes that for the dining experience to be what students need, there must be a way for students to communicate their concerns directly with their catering provider.
Demitrius Brown, Dean of Students, said he hoped the students would “defend themselves when they find themselves in these spaces where their food is not going to be good”.
Currently, Niday and Siva are part of the Request for Proposals (RFP) committee, which is responsible for creating a new catering application for any Trinity catering provider. Aramark’s five-year contract with Trinity, which began in 2017, ends in 2023, and Aramark could remain Trinity’s foodservice supplier or a new supplier could be selected for the next academic year.
Brown is also a board member and said he was glad TFED was advocating.
“I appreciate that they find something geared towards positive change,” Brown said.
TFED achieves its ethical catering goals through the RFP process by ensuring that any catering provider that works with Trinity “must also consider students,” Siva said.
Although a new in-house catering institution was TAA’s primary goal, TFED communicates its concerns to Aramark. According to Niday, Aramark has been very receptive to communications from TFED.
“They are actively working to improve the dining experience right now, even as we go through the RFP process,” Niday said.
In an Aug. 23 post from @tigers.for.ethical.dining on Instagram, TFED illustrated its guiding principles, which include a standing student meal oversight committee so students can have some control over who chooses sources. university food.
Over the next month, TFED hopes to gain more members. If students would like to get involved in bringing structural change to the way restaurants are operated at Trinity, they can follow @tigers.for.ethical.dining on Instagram to learn more about their cause and potential ways to participate over the next month.
TFED will be able to survive through structural changes implemented in the RFP process and by communicating the views of facilitated students directly to Aramark and the catering administration. “My goal is just a restoration program that our students enjoy,” Brown said.