Mess Woes And Hygiene Blues: The Annual Mess Review

Mess Woes And Hygiene Blues: The Annual Mess Review

It's indeed true that home can never be compared with hostels. For the tenure of our education, the hostels become our second home. With this thought comes many expectations. The heart of a hostel is its mess. The humongous campus of NITR has 10 hostels with 2 for ladies, 7 for boys and 1 for married people.

Team MM conducted a survey among the students for the academic years 2015-16 & 2016-17 to know their views about their respective mess. Few questions that were asked are as follows:

A: Do you think the mess is spacious enough?

B: Are the number of serving counters and dining tables adequate?

C: Do you think the cooking area meets proper hygiene standards?

D: Are you satisfied with the quality of food being provided?

E: Do you think a centralized menu should exist for all halls?

The analysis of the above questions is depicted through the graphs.

The other feedback that was obtained for each of the Halls of Residence are as follows:


In CVR majority of the boarders feel that seldom their suggestions in relation to mess menu are paid attention. Some even feel that the changes in the menu are done after discussion with the HEC, and they are always free to give suggestions. Most of the boarders demand mandatory feedback system in the mess twice in a semester. According to the survey in 2015-16 boarders grumbled against the behavior of mess staff, quantity of food served, less variety for vegetarians and inadequate serving counters. Based on the analysis of 2016-17 most of the boarders have a complaint regarding the food quality, taste of food, poor hygiene, timings, the number of counters, number of people serving food in mess.


Boarders of KMS have a common view regarding the changes in mess menu i.e. changes in the menu are done after discussion with the HEC, and they are always free to give suggestions. Most of the boarders feel that the mess menu needs to be modified after every 2 months. Based on the analysis of 2015-16 it was found that the students pined for healthy food, increase in seating capacity and revision of breakfast. According to the survey of 2016-17, it was figured out that the borders were dissatisfied with a limited number of utensils and the paucity of hygiene.


Compilation of the results from the survey conducted about the mess in the years of 2016 and 2017, it was found that there wasn’t much of difference in the reviews of the boarders. It was found that many of the boarders of the Hall were disappointed but many didn't complain about it to their mess secretaries as they felt the changes wouldn't be incorporated. In fact, an astounding number of people have claimed that their changes had not been incorporated. While this was one large chunk of the populace, others merely just didn't complain to their mess secretaries. A majority of the borders felt that a feedback system for mess should be implemented and the mess menu should be changed more frequently. In the academic session 2015-2016 and 2016 to 2017, the hygiene and quality of the food remained the primary concerns among the boarders in the VS Hall. The most common suggested the change was that a coupon system is implemented within the mess in which you pay for what you eat.


In the SD Hall of Residence, the boarders seemed to be fairly okay with their mess in both the academic years as many of them have chosen to state “Average” as a rating for various parameters. Like the VS Hall of Residence, some people felt that a deaf ear was turned to them when they complained but a large portion did feel like they had a say and could speak to the mess secretaries. While a majority of people said their voices were unheard others have said that their complaints have been taken into account. A common opinion among the boarders was also that a change in the mess menu every 1 to 2 months would be better for them. Like in the other Halls of Residence, the boarders at SD Hall also hoped for an increase in the taste and quality of the food and the implementation of a coupon system.


In both the polls conducted, there was a mixed reaction regarding the overall cleanliness of the mess and the staff members uniform. Regarding the mess menu, there was a rare unanimity in both the polls where the boarders felt the lack of good menu, especially for the vegetarians, also the food quality wasn’t praised and was termed “average” some days at best. Most of the boarders felt the need to make the mess system optional. In the 2016 poll, the inaction of the decisions made at the meetings conducted by the mess secretary was pointed out and as a result most favored out of attending the meetings, the same trend followed in 2017 as the boarders felt any of the proposed changes were hardly incorporated. In both the polls, some boarders felt the need of having dishes from different regions catering to the students from regions throughout the country.


The mess for the freshers also received the same and quite positive response regarding its spaciousness, whereas about a half of the poll results indicated a dire need of more serving counters especially during breakfast and lunch. Regarding the hygiene standards, it received satisfactory remarks, furthermore, the clean attire of the mess workers was appreciated. In both the polls of 2016 and 2017, the boarders showed their concern for the changes decided at the mess secretary's meeting to be found not incorporated, also the quality of food remained one of the most negatively reviewed point of the poll in both the years. Moreover, one common point of indifference towards the mess food in both the polls continued to be the not so diverse menu provided throughout the year.Many felt the need for a change of menu should happen once every month and a mandatory review is taken twice every semester.


In both, the poll analysis, the boarders of HB felt space to be an issue although a minimal percentage of them felt this to be a thing of concern.The hygiene of the cooking area wasn’t appreciated much as both he polls showed about a little less than half the boarders feeling it be outright unclean while the others deemed it satisfactory.Not implementing the changes discussed in the HEC meeting were a thing of concern common in both the polls. The food quality was mostly thought to be average and at times good, this was a common result of both the polls.Overall the boarders wished for a change in mess menu in every month or at least bi-monthly.

In the current academic year 2017-18 the caterers have been shuffled as follows:

HB to CVR; MSS to HB; SD to DBA/MSS; VS to SD; CVR to VS

KMS new caterer; GDB/MV unchanged

With the change of caterers this year, the responsibilty now lies upon the students to elect the HEC members wisely. This would give the boarders an opportunity as well as a say in the quality and standards of food that they get. Only time will tell as to how the changes pan out. 


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