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More variety and halal in university restaurants

MAASTRICHT. The university restaurants should offer halal food as well as a greater selection of healthy options. These were two of the outcomes of a small survey carried out by student and University Council member for Novum, Thomas Vaessen (third-year medical student, third-year Dutch Law, master's student of Neuroscience). The survey was held among some thirty students and a few employees from four faculties, two in Randwijck and two in the inner city.

Vaessen presented his findings to the University Council’s operations committee last week. The main results: students want a cheaper selection - a permanent complaint for years -, they want more variety, “more vegetarian and vegan, at the moment there is too much deep-fried stuff,” says Vaessen. And, partly because of the presence of Arabic or at least Islamic students: the introduction of halal products.

For Vaessen, this is not about replacing the existing products by halal food, but more a complement: “It has to be an addition, because we can eat their food, but they can't eat ours”. The fact that this plan could give rise to a discussion (“it means: no pork, and ritual slaughter”) will be no surprise to Vaessen, he says. The University Council committee was unanimously in favour, even the Executive Board, represented by Nick Bos.  

The point is still whether in-house caterer Albron can deliver. Vaessen says that fellow students have spoken with Albron and were not very happy afterwards. Bos announced that the selection of products would be a topic of discussion, partly in light of the expiration of the contract with Albron at the end of 2018. Bos: “Are we going to keep Albron, find another supplier, perhaps more than one supplier, or should we organise our own catering again? Everything is possible. Nor have we decided for Tapijn whether to take on one or more caterers.”

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