Contract for catering limits art, recital show options at LU


Christine Hoffmann  | News Editor

For art and music majors, planning an art show or a recital is necessary for graduation. In years past, such planning included purchasing and organizing a food spread for the reception. Recently, this has changed.

Pfoodman, the company that provides the campus’ cafeteria food, has a contract with the University that requires all events with food to be catered by the company. Though in effect since 2000, the policy recently has become more enforced in regards to student art shows and senior recitals.

“It’s more reflective of the room usage,” said Ralph Pfremmer, CEO of Pfoodman. “We help manage the facilities as far as serving food. There’s a certain standard the University upholds.”  Pfremmer said there have been events on campus in which rooms were not kept properly. “This is a policy based on accountability to make sure events go off the way the University wants,” he said.

Kiki Strecker is in charge of organizing catered events at the school. She creates custom menus based on the students’ needs. “We’re part of Lindenwood, and the team, and making things happen,” Strecker said.

Menu items for non-meal receptions include: cookies, punch, coffee, cheese, sausage, toasted ravioli, dessert items and fruit and vegetable trays. Prices range from $2.95 to $9.95 per person.

“I try to find out their budget and work within that,” Strecker said.  Some students, however, disagree with the rules. “I think it’s very inconvenient because it’s less freedom to do what we really want,” said music major Khrystyne Steele.

Steele held her senior music recital last November. Unable to afford catering, she wanted her mother to prepare food but the policy prevented it, and her recital went without a reception.  “It was awkward after the recital because people wanted to stick around to say hi, but there was nothing to do,” Steele said. “I had people leave before I got to see them because there was no reason to stay.”

“Students are explained to what is required prior to their recital, and it is up to them if they want to move forward or not,” said Joe Alsobrook, dean of fine and performing arts. He believes Pfoodman’s catering policy looks out for the best interest of recital guests and the students hosting the reception.

“It’s a reasonable thing to respect because of food safety,” Alsobrook said. “Just like at public schools, you have to bring packaged food. It’s the University’s policy to respect that.”

Senior Chandra Wood tried to bring her own food to her November art exhibition. “I wanted my guests to be able to have the full experience of a gallery opening,” she said. “There’s always food at gallery openings.”

She had purchased three dozen cupcakes and eight gallons of beverages to share with her guests, but when she started to set up her table, she was stopped by a man who told her she needed to take her food back to her car. Wood said, “We told him, ‘This has been going on for years.’ He said that it was a new policy.”

LU art Professor John Troy petitioned the company a couple years ago to make an exception for art students.

“The opening reception is a time-honored tradition in art exhibitions,” Troy said. “And as long as we require our students to present their artwork in a solo exhibition, they should have the full experience. That includes providing refreshments.”

Troy’s petition was turned down, and the policy remains in effect. “It’s a contractual issue,” Troy said. “The University has a contract with Pfoodman to be the sole caterer for that building. But, of course, contracts can be amended.”

For more information about Pfoodman’s catering prices and menu items, contact Kiki Strecker at [email protected]