Campus Life

Multicultural organizations express frustrations with Chartwells

Multicultural organizations voiced concerns about cultural and religious food offerings on campus at the first public Student Senate meeting of the semester on Tuesday, September 27th, 2022. Students presented points regarding difficulties with event catering, availability of halal options, and authenticity of cultural dishes.

“Food is important in our cultures,” said Britney Marrugo, president of Los Latinos Unidos. Her sentiment was echoed by representatives from the Unified Black Students Society, the African Student Organization, and the Muslim Student Association, who all said they have faced issues obtaining authentic food for cultural events.

Los Latinos Unidos claimed to have faced difficulties when trying to place a custom order with Chartwells for a Hispanic Heritage Month event, according to Marrugo. She described the process of filling out the requested paperwork and said they were then sent additional paperwork after they submitted the original forms. Marrugo also said they were asked to translate recipes- which led to questions about the diversity and authenticity of the Chartwells kitchen.

Multicultural organizations express frustration with Chartwells over the availability and authenticity of cultural dishes. Photo by Kai-Chieh Chan on

“As Black and brown people, our food is our language,” said Janet Martin, a representative from the Unified Black Students Society, who also faced difficulties planning events with Chartwells.

“We are all over the website- we are what Stockton uses to show they care about students of color,” said Martin. She expressed that it is unfair to use students as an example of diversity on campus when these students have trouble getting an accurate representation of their cultures, of which authentic food is an important aspect.

“We do have it harder as multicultural organizations,” said Dorothea Toku, a representative from the African Student Organization. According to Toku, the organization faced pushback from Chartwells when trying to find outside vendors for their annual fashion show. Toku suggested organizations and clubs should have more freedom in choosing vendors for events. She also expressed frustration with the representation of traditional African dishes in the dining hall.

Vidad Malik, the religious chair of the Muslim Student Association, voiced his concerns about the availability of halal food on campus. “I have to check social media on a daily basis to see if there will be halal food available that day,” he said. He emphasized that halal options are typically only available in Food Hall at The Nest, if at all, and often include food labeled “kosher,” which has different requirements for food preparation.

Chris Famularo, a representative from Chartwells, first expressed frustration that many students were referring to Food Hall at the Nest by its previous name, “N-Wing,” and said that they worked very hard last year to change the name. In response to concerns about halal options, Famularo said, “We are doing our best to provide a variety of halal items,” but also included that he is “not in any way saying we’re a halal kitchen.”

In response to the criticism of cultural food in the dining hall, Famularo said, “I’m not going to say any food is exactly as it would be prepared at home.”

“I know everyone thinks this waiver is really difficult but it really is a simple process,” continued Famularo, referring to the Food Waiver, which is a required form when submitting a request for an outside vendor. All of the students who previously spoke said that the waiver was an obstacle.”The process is not always being followed,” Famularo said.

“I’ve seen the email threads, I’ve seen the requests denied… it’s not an easy process,” countered Brianna Bracey, Student Senate president.

Famularo said that there should be no issues as long as the organizations note that the food is for a cultural or religious event and submit all of the required paperwork within the three-week period allotted for the review process.