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The Simmons Voice

The Student News Site of Simmons University

The Simmons Voice

The Student News Site of Simmons University

The Simmons Voice

Annual inflation rate at Simmons dining facilities higher than average for fiscal year 2024

Both Martinez Cuerva and Brink Pisinski said price changes should not impact the food quality.
Rachel Andriacchi
Common Grounds Cafe, September 2023.

Patrons of Simmons University dining facilities can now expect to pay 8 percent more for their next coffee at Common Grounds. 

The price increase applies to the university’s food and beverage retail services. This includes items available for purchase with cash, card, or dining points at Common Grounds Cafe and the Fens Cafe. 

“Meal swipes are not affected by those retail price increases,” said Joan Martinez Cuerva, assistant vice president of University Real Estate Development and Facilities Management, in an interview with The Voice. Instead, meal swipes are factored into the housing and meal plan portion of annual tuition and fees.

Costs are evaluated annually and “are pretty industry standard,” said Vice President of University Real Estate Development and Facilities Management Laura Brink Pisinski in an interview with The Voice. “Most are based on inflation and a variety of other factors. It’s very much based on formulas as we’re thinking about profit and loss.”

The new fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2023 until June 30, 2024, brought higher price increases than usual. “What we’ve seen in past years ranges… it’s typically around 3 to 4 percent,” said Martinez Cuerva. “We’re being affected by inflation as everyone else, and that’s why we’re seeing such high increases.”

Both Martinez Cuerva and Brink Pisinski said price changes should not impact the food quality. “Aramark is responsible for setting the menu and they do that based on their industry research, what they know about what’s best for the population,” Brink Pisinski added. 

Brink Pisinski and Martinez Cuerva assured that employee wages will also be increased. Aramark employees at Simmons officially joined Boston’s Local 26 chapter of Unite Here! in 2013. The union typically “signs a multi-year agreement with Aramark [that] includes wage increases,” Martinez Cuerva explained.

Implementation of all retail price increases is intended to align with the beginning of the new fiscal year. However, an employee, who will remain anonymous due to concerns of job safety, told the Voice that Aramark did not follow the proper timeline. They alleged that prices were implemented a couple of days early, which they were not notified of in advance. 

Martinez Cuerva was unclear as to why this occurred, and stated “it happens typically in the summer, but I would need to check.” 

The Voice attempted to interview Heather Lupis, general manager of Aramark at Simmons University, for more information from the vendor’s perspective. Lupis refused to answer the Voice’s questions after multiple attempts and provided the following email statement instead.

“Annual price increases are based on a number of factors, including nationally documented increased product costs, and our goal each year is to balance price with a high-quality dining experience.”

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About the Contributor
Rachel Andriacchi, Op-Ed Editor
Rachel Andriacchi (2024, they/them) is an Integrated Media Comms student minoring in Journalism, Radio, and Graphic Design. When not working on articles, Rachel loves rewatching their guilty pleasure Netflix shows, going to concerts, and taking film photography

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    AlanSep 18, 2023 at 4:55 pm

    The Simmons Voice is so good on investigating on all of the things they have an issue with at Simmons, I wonder if they will investigate why the “Simmons Voice” refuses to cover Simmons University Athletics. The last story about anything regarding Simmons Athletics was in the fall of 2021. Did nothing happen during the winter of 2021-22 or the spring of 2022 or the entire academic year of 2022-23 in Simmons Athletics? Every newspaper in the world covers sports, except for this one apparently.