Aramark Loses Its Mark – Brandeis Dining to Be Headed Up By Sodexo starting July

This e-mail re new Brandeis Dining Service partner Sodexo was sent to Brandeis Staff and Faculty earlier today (Thursday June the 20th)

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Brandeis University is pleased to announce that we have selected Sodexo as our new campus dining partner. Beginning July 1, 2013, Sodexo will begin managing and operating Dining Services on campus.  

Sodexo’s commitment to excellent customer service, customer satisfaction, local & sustainable foods, and food-forward innovation make them a welcome addition to our campus. Their culinary team will bring a passion for fresh food and catering excellence to campus. Some of the new offerings you will see on campus will include: Starbucks, Russo’s Market, and the first Guy Fieri on Campus located in New England.

Over the coming weeks, Sodexo and Brandeis will share more specific information about meal plans, dining hours, new food formats, events and other information. 

Please join me in welcoming our new Resident District Manager of Dining Services, Jay Degioia. You can reach Jay at ext. 64276 or email

If you have other questions or would like additional information, please contact Mark Collins at 64435 or

Thank you,

Ellen de Graffenreid

Senior Vice President for Communications


So, this is huge! Students have been criticizing and campaigning against Aramark for years (decades?) because of the quality of their food as well as their ideological stances (human rights vi, underpaid employees, etc). Does anyone out there have opinions on/knowledge of Sodexo? Do we know what's going to be happening to the Aramark workers?

I will be researching them, feel free to comment or e-mail in tips (tips @ For now, here's the "Controversies" section of their Wikipedia page:

"There have been at least nine boycotts of Sodexo, for varying reasons: at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, at the American University in Washington D.C., and at Université Laval in Quebec City, at Binghamton University in New York, and Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania, at DePauw University in Indiana, Hollins University in Roanoke, VirginiaEmory University in Atlanta, Georgia,[13][14][15] at Nordea banks in Finland, at the University of Tampere, Finland and at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.[16] At DePauw University the students protested against Sodexo's alleged low pay, former investment in private prison businesses, and the lack of local food options.[17]

At the Nordea banks the issue was a cut in wages after Sodexo took over the bank's workplace food services.[18][19] After a successful boycott, the wages were raised.[20]

In 2009, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) launched a United States nationwide campaign against Sodexo with their stated objective of improving wage and job standards. In 2010, the SEIU recruited students at many U.S. colleges to support strikes and demonstrations in protest of Sodexo's alleged unfair labor practices including anti-union behavior and paying low wages. [21][22] Although one series of strikes at the University of Pittsburgh led to the negotiation of higher wages and lower cost health insurance plans for the cafeteria workers,[23][24][25] none of the Sodexo accounts targeted by the SEIU have unionized or even requested an election vote. According to a statement from Sodexo, the SEIU engaged in a smear campaign in an effort to drive out rival labor unions that have traditionally operated in the foodservice industry as well as for general publicity.[26]

Sodexo filed a lawsuit in March 2011 under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act accusing the SEIU of "engaging in illegal tactics in its effort to unionize workers".[27] During the trial, it was revealed that the SEIU had written and distributed a manual to its staff detailing how “outside pressure can involve jeopardizing relationships between the employer and lenders, investors, stockholders, customers, clients, patients, tenants, politicians, or others on whom the employer depends for funds.” Tactics recommended include references to blackmail, extortion, accusations of racism and sexism, and targeting the homes and neighborhoods of business leaders for demonstrations.[28] Following the court discovery of this document, SEIU agreed to terminate their public campaign focused on Sodexo and the charges against SEIU were dropped.[29]

In May 2011, 27 University of Washington students were arrested during a sit in at the University's administrative offices for protesting the University's concessions contract with Sodexo.[30]Shortly after, on May 19, another 13 students were arrested under similar circumstances.[31]

All of the frozen beef products used by Sodexo in the UK were withdrawn on 22 February 2013 following the discovery of horse DNA in a sample.[32] The company supplies 2,300 institutions, including schools, old-age people homes, prisons and branches of the armed forces within the UK.[32]"

Jazz Ensemble

Last night, Sunday December 7th, I had the immense pleasure of attending the Brandeis Jazz Ensemble semester concert. Directed by the talented Bob Nieske, the Jazz Ensemble concentrated on music made popular in the 1960’s, focused on Thelonious Monk Big Band, arranged by Oliver Nelson.

The concert was structured in two parts: small groups and full band. Both sections were phenomenal, and highlighted the individual talents and incredible orchestration of the entire group. I am personally a HUGE Duke Ellington fan, and I was so excited to hear an excellent rendition of Johnny Come Lately. Another personal favorite was the Miles Davis tune Dear Old Stockholm.

There were three small groups preforming:
Nick Gordon- Trumpet
James McGregor- Alto Sax
Elliot Lustig- Tenor Sax
Jessie Fields- Trombone
Nick Monath- Guitar
Jake Weiner- Bass
Dan Schreiber- Drums
Eran Alpern- Drums

Work Song by Nat Adderly
Stratusphunk by George Russell Nick

Gabe Bronk- Alto Sax
Doug Nevins- Tenor Sax
Ben Gartenstein- Trumpet
Anneke Reich- Voice
Erica Rabner- Voice
Nick Monath- Guitar
Jake Weiner- Bass
Dan Schreiber- Drums

The Peacocks by Jimmy Rowles
Johnny Come Lately by Duke Ellington


Craig Ellman- Alto Sax
Jeremy Goldenberg- Tenor Sax
Guan Ho Nam- Trumpet
Nick Monath- Guitar
Jake Weiner- Bass
Eran Alpern- Drums

Dear Old Stockholm by traditional/Davis
Straight No Chaser by Thelonius Monk

All together, the full band played songs by Thelonius Monk and arranged by Oliver Nelson
1. Let’s Cool One
2. Monk’s Point
3. Little Rootie Tootie
4. Trinkle Tinkle
5. Reflections
6. Brilliant Corners

All together a wonderful and enjoyable concert!
I was a little saddened at the lack of student turn out to enjoy such a great effort from fellow Brandeis students. I understand it is finals time, but taking a break to enjoy the arts can be productive as well.
Many student performance groups are hosting their final shows, and I strongly encourage the Brandeis community to go and support them!

Found Recording – Bob Dylan Live At Brandeis in 1963

In yet another display of why Brandeis in the 1960’s was so amazing, has announced that they will be releasing a live bootleg recording of Bob Dylan playing here on May 10, 1963 for the first ever Brandeis Folk Festival. Here is the track listing (note, all tracks previously unreleased):

“Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance” (Incomplete)
“Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues”
“The Ballad of Hollis Brown”
“Masters of War”
“Talkin’ World War Three Blues”
“Bob Dylan’s Dream”
“Talkin’ Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues”

Unfortunately, as of now, the disc is only being offered if you pre-order a copy of either The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964 (The Bootleg Series Vol. 9) on CD or vinyl, or The Original Mono Recordings also available in the same forms, but hopefully it will be re-released as a solo disc so that no one will have to spend extra money if they don’t want the other albums.

Interestingly enough, according to a post on The Examiner’s Website, “The “ticket” price for the “left risers” ( Row E Seat 61) was $4.40. Ticket good for day of the show only. No refunds or exchanges. ” $4.40? Another example of why the ’60’s were better!

Flyer Book

Today I was walking in the hallway and I saw all these flyers. Then I went to the bathroom and thought how important information is and how much information there is so much that is, but then it is lost forever. Like there is so much in the world, but then it id lost forever to time. These flyers all over campus are pretty much trash right now, but think about fifty years from now. People will be like, “whoa there used to be a Students For Environmental Action Club? LOLOLOLOL THERE IS NO MORE ENVIRONMENT!!!
What I am saying is basically, reduce reuse recycle.
Also, we should take a unique flyer of every sort off the wall, and instead of throwing it out, put it in a binder and then if Brandeis lasts longer than a ten more years, eleven years from now, people will have some vague idea of who was here eleven years before them. And those kids eleven years from now, living after megacorporations destroy all of the environment, and people need lifesuits breathe air and live will see that there was a club called SEA and say, “Let’s resurrect SEA and then bring back the environment!”

A Few Thoughts About the Aquapocalypse

On Saturday night, I was killing time and decided to buy a soda at Hannaford’s.  While I was waiting in line, I took notice of the crowds which were mobbing the various check-out aisles.  What every single person had in common was a harried look in their eyes, and what separated the crowd into two chunks was water; there were those who had amassed a shopping-cart’s worth of bottles and crates of water, and those who hadn’t arrived in time.  In the twenty minutes which it took me to get to the front of the line, a time which was frequently punctuated by the shouts for the manager demanding more water, I began to realize that were I not on campus, I would be in the same position, unsure whether or not I would have any access to clean water for an indeterminate amount of time.

As the weekend wore on, I started feeling thirsty at all hours of the day.  This may have been due in part to the heat, as well as the amount of time I spent at Springfest, but I began to wonder if other people felt the same way.  Was my desire for water influenced by my recognition that I could not have a constant flow in my water bottle at any time of the day? This is to say nothing of the fact that 1/8th of the world’s population has no access to clean drinking water, but this made me realize that as a student at Brandeis, I was given access to essential resources when they were sorely needed by the community.

Yesterday morning, the entire campus woke up to great news when we were told that the crisis was over.  I admit that that this was a relief for me, but I considered some of the people who were “suffering” more than I was.  For example, I don’t drink coffee, but I overheard a student at Einstein’s complaining about how they had to drive thirty minutes into Cambridge in order to find an open coffee shop.  When I actually considered the troubles that plague people around the world, however, it made me realize how trivial this is.

Did Too Much Debt Cause Brandeis’ Financial Woes?

The following was sent to the editors of Innermost Parts by a recent alumnus of Brandeis, who has been following the news and decided to do some of his own research on Brandeis’ finances. Most of his conclusions come after examining data from this document, the University’s publicly available FY 2007 990 tax form required of all non-profits. We thought his questions were compelling, and hope this post fosters further investigation and research. These are questions that need to be answered.

~ Loki & Sahar


During public conversations about the current state of Brandeis’ financial crisis, much has been discussed about the state of the University’s endowment and its current financial situation. However, none of the articles I have read in the Brandeis press or national press discuss the University’s substantial debt.

Numbers can tell a story. Hard data is necessary to look more deeply into the fiscal health of an organization. Numbers can also raise questions.

Every year all non-profits – including universities – must file 990 forms detailing their financial activities with the IRS. Brandeis last filed its 990 following FY 2007. At that time we were led to believe, from pronouncements in fundraising appeals and in the twice yearly Presidential letters, that the university was the paragon of financial health. Brandeis was in the midst of a successful capital campaign, which was bringing hundreds of millions of dollars into the University.  The financial crisis was not even on the horizon.

Yet that very year, Brandeis was saddled with debt. The University increased its liabilities (by issuing Tax Exempt Bonds and taking on Mortgage Debt) by $67 million, to more than $200 million — a 51% increase in debt in one year.

Continue reading “Did Too Much Debt Cause Brandeis’ Financial Woes?”

Here Is Another Thing I Am Annoyed About

I’m pissed off again. This time, it’s about flowers. It’s not that I’m opposed to the concept of flowers. It’s just that I have a big beef with Brandeis’s particular methods of imposing flowers on the public.

Take a look at this picture:

Those are our new “flower pots.” My issue is that they are not actually flower pots. They are garbage cans. They have been converted.

This is an outrage. Last year these garbage cans were well-located and convenient. But then the members of the Executive Committee On Waste Receptacle Placement sneaked in during the night and suddenly transformed them all into horticultural containment facilities. Now instead of melon rinds and hastily discarded copies of The Hoot, they have hideously lovely pink and white flowers. So where am I supposed to put my melon rinds?

Of course, they’ve replaced some of the garbage cans, but many of them are in slightly different places to where they used to be. And so I have to readjust the paths I take to throw things away, which is a minor inconvenience. Continue reading “Here Is Another Thing I Am Annoyed About”

On The Need For A Greater Quantity Of Geodesic Domes

You know what Brandeis needs? A great big geodesic dome. I only figured this out recently, when I noticed just how downright hideous the entrance to Brandeis is.

Let me explain my brilliant reasoning. Currently, what do visitors see when they arrive at our dear university? Why, they see a tiny, scruffy little Branvan shack. It looks like this:

I mean, really. What kind of impression does that send? It doesn’t seem like a proper way to introduce our university to newcomers. We need an entrance that says “Hello, I am Brandeis! I am a grand institution. Come and learn from me.” Our current one is more along the lines of “Hello, I am Brandeis. My buildings look like hovels.”

No, what we need is some kind of imposing monument. And I can think of nothing better than a huge geodesic dome. No other type of building has quite the majesty of the dome. Our school’s level of dome-age is currently dangerously low, and the situation needs a-fixin’. Below, I have constructed a genuine simulation of one possible variation of this genius idea:

Bam! Dometastic! And to those of you say “Wow, that’s incredibly badly photoshopped,” I say this: “Hah! How very wrong you are. It is incredibly badly MS Paint-ed.” Actually, come to think of it, my genuine simulation doesn’t really give you a sense of what I mean. It kind of looks like a glass igloo. And if Eskimos lived in glass igloos, they could never get naked comfortably. I’m really thinking of something more along the lines of the big freaking Epcot sphere. If we had the Epcot sphere, we would be telling every other Boston college that Brandeis means business.

I’m serious about this. Our entrance is ugly. And domes are great. Come on, wouldn’t it be amazing? Share your thoughts.

Continue reading “On The Need For A Greater Quantity Of Geodesic Domes”