|Res Life staff dining in Skyline Room - Now accepting Bonus Bucks!|
In reviewing our program, students, faculty, and staff were interviewed and surveyed. Studies of campus foot traffic and usage patterns were conducted. The administration, faculty, and students were routinely updated. The following values were identified to under-gird all dining -related initiatives: quality, variety, value, health, and sustainability. Secondary values include convenience and presentation. Student government embraced the changes and voted in favor. Among the initiatives:
- Changing from an ala carte to all-you-care-to-eat format in the main dining area, Mabee Hall. This included a renovation and significant menu changes.
- Relocation of the POD convenience store and grill from the Coates Center to Mabee Hall.
- Installation of an Einstein's Brothers Bagel Shop in the Coates Center.
- Addition of local favorite, Taco Taco to the Coates Commons.
- Renovation of the swanky Skyline Room and a change to a bistro-style menu. Students will be able to use their Bonus Bucks now.
More changes are planned:
- The upper-campus POD in the Center for Sciences and Innovation will open this August.
- The Commons is tentatively scheduled for a minor renovation during winter break, to include a new, healthier option sandwich and salad station.
- The Skyline menu will be reviewed and updated.
This all matters a great deal to me because I believe that students and employees deserve healthy and tasty options on campus. At the end of the day, you get what you pay for - institutionally and on a meal-by-meal basis.
So beating out Muhlenburg and 1,925 other schools is a great start. But students still have issues, primarily related to our main dining program in Mabee. I met with the Residential Life student staff this week and we discussed what they like and dislike. Perhaps the best comment was that despite the variety, it doesn't taste like there is a big difference between the offerings. That is something we can address.
Our Student Government Association has been missing-in-action in developing channels for offering systematic and consistent feedback. They need a seat at the table, so to speak, but they aren't even asking for a reservation.
A quick review of the top 75 schools shows that the best programs are the ones that are responsive to student feedback, innovate their menus and programs, and support health and sustainability.
So I challenge our dining staff and our students, and especially SGA. Let's roll up our sleeves and put our napkins on our laps. Let's cull through the top national programs and identify what we like and what is attainable. Then we can look at moving up higher on the list - not to rank better - but to be better.