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Water alert doesn’t deter campus hospitality

By : By Heather O'Dea

Imagine if you had 1,000 guests expected for the weekend and the water goes out. That was the situation Sodexho Dining Services found itself in on Friday, June 6, when the boil-water warning came from the Town of Vestal after E. coli bacteria was found in a water sample.

Six separate events were scheduled, including one with nearly 400 people planning to attend the annual black-tie dinner of the Harpur Forum featuring astronaut Scott Carpenter, as well as special events for the Link Foundation 50th anniversary.

Undeterred, Sodexho sprang into action, according to Paul Kerns, general manager. After reviewing their list of University-hosted events for the weekend, they assessed what they would need to do without a steady supply of water for the next few days. Drinking water was not the only concern. In addition to having potable water, they were also worried about adequate ice and hand-washing water.

The campus caterer arranged to have 4,000 pounds of ice and 1,500 gallons of water brought to campus from an outside source. Unable to supply beverages, the juice, soda and coffee machines were turned off and Sodexho enlisted the help of Crowley’s and Coca-Cola to help them supply extra refreshments.

Although the weekend was a bit stressful, Kerns reported that everything ran smoothly in the end. “We have a great staff,” he said.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08