Last night ARAMARK management and Association of Student Representatives members held a town hall meeting to further introduce changes in dining services as previously reported in the Trinitonian. For those who missed the town hall, click here to see a video presentation. As the interim VP for Student Affairs I oversee campus dining services, which we contract out to ARAMARK.
Over the past year ARAMARK, the administration, and ASR have worked closely to evaluate dining services and make recommendations for improvements. While ongoing assessment revealed generally satisfied student customers, complaints have lingered about value, variety, quality, and nutritious options. The plan that was presented by ARAMARK, and approved by the University, addresses those issues and more.
There had not been a major overhaul of dining services for over 20 years. The new all-you-care-to-eat plan brings Trinity in line with most other campuses. The flex dollars offer other choices for students around campus. An additional option for juniors and seniors allows more flexibility for those who are in their third and fourth years on campus. For employees, the planned new Science Cafe, possible upgrades to Java City in the library and the Skyline Room in the Coates University Center, as well as a planned renovation of theCommons and the installation of an Einstein Brothers Bagels this summer should create exciting and affordable meal choices.
The new door rate in Mabee Hall may also entice employees to lower campus and a special faculty/staff plan is being considered. The ARAMARK improvements, at their expense, will allow them to make drastic changes. Those changes will be assessed and the dining program will be reviewed again in five years. In the meantime, the Chapman POD will allow the University to examine its impact on Java City and to be able to plan for a Science Cafe. That Cafe may become part of a hub of campus life in what will be a remarkable new facility. The video presentation does not address it, but there will be a conceptual redevelopment of the snack bar in Prassel residence hall.
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Update on March 29, 2011: A Guide to Choosing the Meal Plan