The Residence Halls Association held committee meetings Monday evening to discuss Campus Dining Services issues, including Baja Grill orders getting lost and a lack of toppings at Jack Hammer's.
The Residential Living Committee hosted a panel with representatives from Campus Dining Services. During the meeting, the Residential Living Committee met with Campus Dining Services Manager Nancy Monteer and Campus Dining Marketing Manager Michael Wuest to discuss the student dining experience, student concerns regarding it and possible improvements.
Wuest began the discussion by announcing the recent launch of a new Campus Dining Services WordPress blog that is intended to provide students with relevant information about campus dining services.
“The blog is linked to from the home page so it is easy to get to, and it will be updated five to six times a month, making it a good way for students to find out what things we have going on,” Wuest said.
Wuest also spoke about the upcoming Bengal Rock Party lip-synching competition, which will take place during dinner in Plaza 900 on April 4. Wuest is looking for groups of one to four students to sign up to participate in the competition because participants have not been signing up at the rate he was expecting.
After this initial presentation, Wuest and Monteer fielded questions and comments from Residential Life committee members. A representative from McDavid Hall asked that improvements be made to Jack Hammer’s in McDavid Hall, which many residents feel CDS does not care as much about as they do the other halls because it is a temporary dining hall that will only be open until the end of the year. He cited a need for increased offerings, particularly additional sandwich toppings. Monteer cited the lack of storage space available in Jack Hammer’s as an obstacle to increasing topping offering. However, she also stated CDS would look into the issue.
Another representative brought up the frequency with which she has witnessed orders getting “lost” at Baja Grill, which has resulted in long wait times for some students.
“We have noticed that this is a problem and we have been having some issues with the printers over there, which we are trying to get fixed,” Monteer said in response. “Hopefully this will not continue to be a problem.”
Also discussed were plans for the future expansion of Plaza 900 dining hall.
“Plaza is our most popular dining hall, and a lack of seating has been an issue recently,” Wuest said. “To address this, we are adding 250 extra seats. However, there are limited times during which Plaza is not in use and we can complete the renovation, so it will not be complete until fall of 2014.”
Representatives also complimented CDS on improvements that were made in response to the meeting that was held last semester.
“I want to let you guys know that the response to the expansion of Time Out’s hours has been nothing but positive,” Residential Living Committee Chairman Jackson Farley said. “Everyone I have talked to loves it.”
Also discussed was the upcoming reopening of Mark Twain Market in Mark Twain Hall as an expanded, all-you-can-eat style dining hall and the possibility of allowing students to take out food from Plaza 900, which CDS is reluctant to offer due to the difficulty of monitoring a take-out system at Plaza.
The Operations Committee also met in order to vote on Amendment 002, which will “reorganize appropriations of hall fines from the scholarship fund to the operations committee.” The amendment was unanimously passed by the Operations Committee and will be presented to and voted on by the RHA Congress at its full session next week.
“I think it is a good bill to pass because I think it would be better to make the money generated from these funds available to students for the fulfillment of funding requests than to just have it go toward scholarships, which only benefit a few students,” said Lane Adams, chairman of the Operations Committee and the sponsor of the bill. “RHA already sets money aside for scholarships and it seems like additional money generated should be made available to students as is intended.”