Dawn of a New Dining Center? Remembering the Salesianum Lunch Boycott One Month Later


Liam Furlong

“Changes in the cost and content of the cafeteria’s cooking will come and go, but the voices of those on September 12 will remain in the Dining Center forever.”

From the cross country conquest in Manhattan to the Varsity’s victory on the football field, October 12 was truly a busy day for Salesianum. However, yesterday also represented the one-month anniversary of the unforgotten Salesianum Lunch Boycott, the day when ‘power of the people’ took on a very real meaning. Looking back on this monumental day, so many students reported that quality skyrocketed from the day forth, almost justifying the stasis of pricing. The following two memoirs in days building up the Boycott stand as testament to the energy and efforts that motivated the movement:

September 9:

“Over the course of last week, tensions have flared within the student body over the cost and quality of countless Salesianum foodstuffs. As almost every Salesian knows, there have always been the conventional complains of overpriced hamburgers, pint-sized pastries, and cash grabs at the grab-n’-go counter. Yet year after year, enough hungry students have put aside their grievances to keep the cafeteria and its catering company, Nexdine, running smoothly.

However, many of the seniors have declared that enough is enough – in an effort to renounce what they have deemed as an unsavory attempt “to create a gourmet kitchen for Salesianum,” a fervid act of protest by the name of the “Salesianum Lunch Boycott” has begun to permeate through all four grades of long-time lunch buyers. Starting on September 16th, students aligned with the ever-popular protest state that they will bring their own lunches for “as long as it takes” to witness the return of “the food that we were accustomed to and loved.”

With the precedent set, and sides being taken over the Battle of Bought or Brought, only one question remains: where do you stand? More to come within the week.”

September 12:

“From this day forward, Salesianum students will always remember September 12 as the dawn of a new dining center. Mere moments before the legion of lunch-goers took to the tables in protest, the Student Council called for an administrative assembly with the executive house captains, Father Beretta, and NexDine representative and head chef Paul Kubic. From here, students cordially voiced their complaints over quality and cost to the corporate kitchen, negotiating what can be improved upon to satisfy the demands of the student body, the requirements of the school, and the financial conditions of NexDine.

While the Salesianum Lunch Boycott did take place throughout all three lunch periods, an official statement was published by the producer of this protest declaring that “everything in our power has been changed.” Under the “Treaty of Sales,” as many have referred to the recent accords, the Salesianum cafeteria has promised 6-ounce French fry portions, fresh and affordable fruit, a regular rotation of classic sandwiches, customizable burgers, and a new type of the time-honored chicken tenders all arriving within the next two weeks. Additionally, an anonymous inside ear suggested the possibility of an ice cream cooler arriving in later months – if this premonition pans out, the Review will have the scoop! With the Boycott officially over and lasting peace between kitchen and community, patrons of the Salesianum cafeteria can put away their lunch bags and once again enjoy the “overall food that is actually cooked with care.” Bon appétit!”

But the question must be asked: will the “peace between kitchen and community” be a lasting one? Almost a entire month later, and several concerns of quality and cost have been voiced within the walls of 18th and Broom. Simply put, many students state that they still do not recognize a difference in NexDine’s products. Junior Thomas King remarked that his comments from last year still stand, that “The food is too exotic, and I just want some chicken tenders on the daily.” After such a wholehearted attempt, it’s evident that some of the student body believes that the status quo has returned, leaving a bad taste in their mouths.

On the other hand, many students still marvel at the content of NexDine’s quality, claiming that the lasting effects of the Boycott have been for the better. Indeed, junior Declan Landis remarked that “I’m really happy that we were able to get something done, and overall I think that for the betterment of the Salesianum lunchroom and just the overall happiness of the students, it was a really positive impact.” But more importantly than the food itself, such an event let the true voices of the student body be heard, a chance to drive the change that would ultimately better the House of Sales, a claim that almost everyone can agree with. Landis put it best, saying “I’m glad that we had this conversation [with NexDine] because if we never have this conversation, then nothing can get done.”

Changes in the cost and content of the cafeteria’s cooking will come and go, but the voices of those on September 12 will remain in the Dining Center forever. The Salesianum Lunch Boycott will now and always hold its significance as the day when the student body came together to bring about a peaceful change packaged in a legion of lunchboxes to the Dining Center tables. This past month of remembrance, as many students choose to believe, has only been the gateway for a future of new bites within the Brotherhood.