by Bradley Whipp IBL15A
Napoleon Bonaparte Emperor of France (1814) said “an army marches on its stomach” and this statement still resonates today but not only in military sphere but in all forms of human activity. In academia various studies have found that students’ performance is based on, among other things, their quality of diet and the sustenance they receive before and between classes. In Finland the government recognizes the importance of such and therefore relies on an organization known as KELA to subsidize student meals provided by certain organizations. Due to the financial affordability of the meals provided at University Cafeteria, students flock to these outlets like animals to a watering hole, and they have become centers for socializing, group meetings and relaxation.
At the beginning of October 2015, the contract for the cafeteria in the Myyrmäki Campus of the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences was held by Uni-Cafe which is part of the HYY Ravintolat group. Students were satisfied with this establishment and although there was an occasional grumble about the quality of some dishes, it was commonly accepted that in terms of value for money it was the best place to get a meal.
“The food was nice, and always readily available you could get porridge in the morning, a variety of different lunches in the afternoon, and a coffee/tea/hot chocolate whenever you like. They were open Monday to Saturday and normally from 07:30 to 18:00, life was good.” – Anonymous Student
An element of loyalty to Uni-Cafe became apparent due to the consistency that Uni-Cafe provided to students.
However during mid-November of 2015 rumors began to stir about the replacement of Uni-Cafe by a rival catering firm known as Sodexo and by January the next year those rumors had materialized, Uni-Cafe had left and its successor was Sodexo.
Some students were impetuous about the change and it became a common topic of discussion. One party loyal to the old regime would compare areas where they perceived Uni-Cafe provided a superior service such as with the “taste of the coffee and the provision of full cream milk”, and vice versa with the reformists praising Sodexo for their “greater variety of meals and branded serviettes”.
Though in all honesty the induction weeks were rough for Sodexo, with shortages of food occurring on a number of occasions and students preferring to “eat out” as opposed to getting used to the new flavors on offer. This added fuel to the rivalry between the two camps of supporters, Uni-Cafe loyalists and Sodexo reformists. With forums popping up where both sides could express their views (as shown).
Nonetheless as time has gone on and Sodexo has settled down in the Myyrmäki Campus, quality and consistency have risen and subsequently students have begun to incorporate it into their daily routines and bit by bit the memories of Uni-Cafe are fading. Die hard evangelists of both sides during this brief period of unrest have become indifferent and as with all things life goes on.