AVI Fresh strives for student-centered innovation

 

The recent removal of chicken fingers isn’t the only change ha ppening in Malone’s dining services. AVI Fresh hopes to make every dining experience enjoyable for students.

“Every semester we want to improve upon last semester,” said Chris Wisbey, director of AVI Fresh. “Every school year we want to do something cool and new and improved.”

AVI Fresh hopes to make every dining experience enjoyable for students. (Photo by The Aviso AVW)

Wisbey and the dining staff are constantly working to enhance food on campus, and this year’s changes are built upon university president David King and wife Winnie King’s health initiative.

“Our menu really revolves around meeting the needs of the students,” said Wisbey. “It is giving them what they want as far as options go, but making everything fresh, flavorful, and healthy.”

One way AVI Fresh has tried to improve this year is through the introduction of homemade peanut butter. They have also purchased a smoker for meats, and it is set to be installed over Thanksgiving break.

Wisbey said he recognizes the desire for dishes like chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks for every meal, but AVI Fresh refuses to feed students in an unhealthy way.

“That’s not our culture,” Wisbey said. “That’s not who we are.”

That culture goes beyond the cafeteria. They have applied their healthier choices to press box meals during the football season, and even more changes are on their way to Froggy’s and Regula Café.

“Our goal for winter semester is to revamp Froggy’s and Regula’s menus,” said Wisbey. “Our ultimate goal for Regula is to do a ‘build-your-own salad.’”

Students may have already noticed the addition of couches to Froggy’s; Wisbey says they are just the beginning of the creation of a living-room atmosphere for students.

Events in the dining commons are also expected to undergo some modifications.

“We want to do different-themed dinners to break up the monotony of the everyday,” said Wisbey. “We do the fall festival. We’re doing steak and salmon night. We’re really excited to do that.”

Wisbey said AVI Fresh’s continual adjustments all come from a desire to better serve the Malone community.

“Whatever we do, it’s always about the students,” Wisbey said. “We start our day at four o’clock in the morning, and we are here until midnight every night, because our staff enjoys serving the students.”

Melissa Molyneux, senior Spanish education major and AVI Fresh employee, echoed Wisbey’s sentiments.

“[The] staff is constantly working to make things better,” said Molyneux. “It’s fascinating working somewhere where ideas and improvements matter so much.”

Molyneux said the best way to bring about change is for students to voice their opinions. She mentioned that offering feedback through the comment box, Twitter, or face-to-face conversation will help AVI Fresh continue in their innovation.

“Chris [Wisbey] will really listen to you,” said Molyneux. “They want to make it what students want.”

Respect is crucial to a healthy relationship between students and AVI Fresh, said Molyneux. Simply saying thank you or completely scraping plates can be a large help to those serving students day after day.

“Say thank you,” Molyneux said. “Recognize the positive things. [The staff members] work hard.”

Molyneux reported not recognizing the full extent of those efforts until she began working for AVI Fresh herself.

“I see the behind the scenes, and they are trying to do a lot of positive things,” said Molyneux.

Alicia Meyer is a contributing writer for The Aviso AVW.

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