Op-ed: Former SGB Presidents voice support for Sodexo, Abdou Cole

Even though some of us former Student Government Board presidents are far from Pitt today, we have stayed connected to campus by Pitt’s Sodexo manager Abdou Cole through all the correspondence he sends to us, ranging from what’s new on campus dining to newspaper and magazine publication awards. We were delighted to hear that Pitt Dining was awarded No. 3 on Bon Appetite’s 7 Healthiest Dining Halls and, just last week, made the list at No. 3 on Daily Meal’s 75 Best Colleges for Food.

Who can forget the great Thanksgiving dinners that were The Pitt News Editors’ Choice for “One of Pitt’s Greatest Traditions?” And the proud Christmas Day dinner that provides a hot meal to those who are less fortunate in our society?

Recently, Cole shared with us the inspection issue in Market Central and promised to leverage all of Sodexo’s resources and its comprehensive food safety program to make sure students are always protected.

We have full confidence in Cole and his team based on our experiences dealing with him as former Pitt students and student leaders. He is dedicated to his work and the Pitt student body.

Students see him on campus at 7 a.m., 8 p.m. or even later on Saturdays and Sundays. We always thought he lived on campus. His favorite words when we run into him are, “I am making my rounds to make sure everything is OK.”

Cole and his Sodexo team of managers are always seeking feedback from students, and nowhere is this more evident than the Food Committee, Grub Club and Eat & Greet. He and his team provide a free meal for students in return for feedback. Student suggestions are quickly implemented. His tireless work for Pitt students led to his award of the Art Ramicone “Unsung Hero” award and SGB Presidential recognition certificate.

Sodexo led by Cole was very visible during the bomb threats during the spring of 2012, always showing up immediately at evacuation locations with warm bagels, hot coffee and snacks. There is never an emergency situation on campus where Cole and his team are not seen working to make students comfortable.

Cole is more than the food service manager to most students. He is a mentor, big brother, uncle and life coach. We are grateful for his encouragement and advice during our time with him on campus. He has followed our careers from Pitt, and remains genuinely interested with our progression.

He is a great Pitt man and we stand united in support of Cole and his Sodexo team.


Shady Henien, MD – SGB President, Class ’08

James Landreneau, MD – SGB President, Class ’13

Gordon Louderback – SGB President, Class ’13

Mike Nites – SGB President, Class ‘15

Nasreen Harun – SGB President, Class ’16

Max Kneis – SGB President, Class ’18

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