New director stirs things up at McCall Dining Hall

Working in the food service industry since high school, Eddie Rushing takes pride in serving a variety of quality food. Now he’s the new food service director at Grambling State University.

Leon Sanders, the university’s vice president for Finance and Administration, announced Rushing’s selection at the Spring Convocation last Thursday in the T.H. Harris Auditorium on campus.

Students began to cheer after Sanders informed them that Rushing  and the administration have arranged to have Taco Bell added to the Tiger Express food court on campus.

Rushing, 56, a Ruston native, is “glad to come to Grambling (because) it is close to home.”  For 37 years, Rushing has lived down the street in the small town of Simsboro with his high school sweetheart, LaJeanne, his wife “for 37 wonderful years” and they live with their daughter, Heather, a biology graduate student at Louisiana Tech University.

In his short few weeks on campus, the campus menu is now available online and posted each day, and he has included nutritional information on each food item for students who have asked for healthier food options.

 “I can guarantee that the food will improve now to next semester,” said Rushing, who is working on a menu with a variety of options.

Starting his first food service job at A&W Drive-Inn in Ruston as the assistant manager, Rushing worked at night after school. With about 40 years of experience, Rushing brings a wealth of skills to the McCall Dining Hall ARAMARK job from his role as assistant director at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, where he worked for more than 10 years. Earlier, he spent about three years as ARAMARK’s retail director at Louisiana Tech, his alma mater.

Ante’ Britten, associate vice president for Finance and Administration, said changes weren’t being made as needed, which led to a decision to hire a new director. “The variety and quality of the food was not up to par in the dining hall …so a change needed to be made,” Britten said.

Since the new food service director has started, students have noticed a difference in their  dining experience in the cafeteria.

Senior Stephany Norris, who serves on the university’s food service committee, said she has seen improvements since Rushing has been in charge. 

 “It was actually really good, looks better and they have a lot of variety,” said Norris, one of several student representatives who sit on the committee with administration and ARAMARK officials. 

 “When I went in they have more than one vegetarian option without meat like soup and a veggie burger. Delicious!” 

D’Corey Bainz, a freshman transfer student from the Los Angeles area, said he’s concerned about the service on the weekend.

 “There are more people that are trying to eat,” he said. “I feel that they should make enough food for everyone to eat at the right time during the weekends.” 

Rushing explained during a recent interview in his office that not many students dine in the dining hall during the weekend and he is not able to increase the staff.