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Headed in a Healthy Direction

By Caroline Urbanek ‘17

Staff Writer


When Kathleen Renzi visited Hamel Health hoping to find a diagnosis for her illness, she was surprised when she was offered the option of a sick meal voucher. These vouchers are only one of the courteous services offered to students from Sodexo and the list continues to expand.

Renzi, a junior, has been unaware of the sick meal service for the three years she’s lived on campus.

Students visiting Hamel Health can request a voucher to give to their roommate or friend, who can redeem the voucher and a meal swipe for them at the Warrior’s Den for chicken noodle soup, crackers, a banana, and ginger ale explained General Manager, Karen Hyder.

This is not the only way that dining services has recently expanded. The overwhelming majority of students are impressed with the direction Merrimack’s Dining Services have headed recently.

Kerry Cameron has been Merrimack’s Sodexo Campus Dietitian for the past three years and is proud of the positive changes that have occurred in her time here. “When I started at Merrimack, I really wanted to focus on allergy free dining for those students with food allergies.”     

This is what sparked the initiation of Sparky’s Simple Servings station. Cameron explained that as her favorite station, it’s a great option for students both with food allergies and those looking for simple, healthy foods.

Hyder has been at Merrimack College for one year, but with Sodexo for twelve. She, too, explained a few of the newer programs at Sparky’s, such as the “Choose to Reuse” program.  

“This is a one-time fee of $5.00 for the re-usable container and allows our guests the flexibility to swipe into the dining facility and create their meal to take with them,” Hyder said.

Another service that Cameron believes people are unaware of is the fact that students can get free nutrition consultations and counseling with her. “All students need to do is just email me to set up an appointment,” Cameron said.

Sodexo also offers a program called “Mindful” to encourage students to choose healthy choices. “Mindful” choices are marked by apple icons on menu signage and denote healthy choices that meet certain nutritional requirements.

Another new installment at Sparky’s has been “TryDay Friday,” which has received positive feedback from students. Cameron expressed that the goal is to encourage students to try new things, such as the baked zucchini fries they offered last week.

Hyder encourages students to visit the facility’s Facebook page over the summer to keep updated on changes coming in the fall. Cameron, too, is  excited about these changes and encourages students to approach her or email her with any suggestions.