Posted by: jeffbabl | April 23, 2011

Presidential Platform Part 9 of 9

Camus Dining Service

The single most important piece of the platform, the final post, is on campus dining.  As shown by recent posts in the class by myself, Erik Dodge, and Sam Bates this is a vital issue for UNK students.  Both President Gonzales and vice president Mena-Werth are genuinely passionate about the value and quality of the food and the future food provider.  The three meal plan options currently at 21 meals @ $1783 per semester, 15 meals @ $1749 per semester, and 20% discount for commuters/staff for purchasing meals via loper dollars.  The ten meal plan was eliminated causing Gonzales to claim that students, especially older students eat much less frequently than the options require.  They hope to bring back the ten meal option in addition to a new five meal plan as well as upping the loper dollars discount to 25%.  They also are proposing increasing the transfer rate from $5.50 to $6.00.  Currently Chartwells has an “exclusive catering clause” giving them an airtight monopoly to cater ALL food and beverage needs on campus. Gonzales says that many student organizations have limited budgets and cannot afford the prices of the food service.   His number one priority is to give student organizations catering discounts and that any outside food brought on campus under $100 be allowed on campus.  Next year he hopes to have the food provider keep an updated website to keep students informed on dining news, notifications, hours, menus, and nutrition information.  In addition there will be an anonymous section for students to write about food service, quality of food, and staff.  Contact information will also be posted for students to know who is in charge and how to get a hold of administration if they have a concern.  The president hopes to add a new restaurant on the 1st floor in the food court, holding a student vote to determine which restaurant students want.  Food quality is the last concern for Gonzales and Mena-Werth.  They hope the new food service provider fosters a friendly atmosphere between students and staff and of course improved food diversity and day-to-day quality.

The meal plans are not good for value or variety.  You must pick one or the other, so I love the idea of lower meals per week, because I myself don’t even use ten of my twenty-one meals.  What I’d like to see is block meals, let’s say 250, for the whole semester that you can use anytime not just within the designated meal times.  The discount for loper dollars is good for commuter students who might want a quick bite to eat between classes.  Increasing the transfer value to $6.00 is a must, because when I order a combo 3 meal at Coyote Jacks I must pay money out of pocket or use my ever shrinking points to cover the excess cost.  The “exclusive catering clause” is complete garbage and should be eliminated.  All student organizations I am in always bring outside food on campus to avoid paying the overpriced “food” Chartwells would give us.  If it must remain, I like Gonzales stance on discounts and all food under $100 be allowed.  If anything there should be a price match guarantee by Chartwells to avoid forcing student organizations to pay money they don’t have. The new website with all information regarding meals, hours, ECT is perfect because I am always wondering what place is open and when will it close.  The extra feature of contact info and anonymous comments will help keep the dining provider accountable.  A new restaurant on first floor will be great, just to get some new variety, because burgers, tacos, and Chinese get old very quickly.  My vote would be a Subway, because tastes good and is good for you.  Lastly I definitely want a new food provider but if they are retained, I am behind Gonzales on promoting a friendly atmosphere because the service currently is very bad and unfriendly.  Food orders are constantly messed up and sometimes I’m ignored so the staff can talk about their personal lives.  I am very behind Gonzales and Mena-Werth on this issue, because it seems to be a big concern among students.  I would like to see them also address hours, prices of food, and the cleanliness of the dishes. This platform is a GREAT first step to addressing campus dining issues.

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