Director of Campus Dining Services Brian Wiacek and Joe Austin, director of Gorham Student Life updated the Student Senate on food service at the University.
At each food service area across campuses there have been unique changes.
At the Gorham campus cafeteria ARAMARK changed how the salad bar is set up, as well as adding a variety of choices for the students. In the Portland campus they have added open refrigerators for sandwiches and salads.
“We tried to make it a more fun atmosphere and have been very successful so far,” said Wiacek.
With over 200 more students on meal plans the food service appears to be making improvements. Although there is an overall agreement that ARAMARK has been doing its job by providing sufficient services, there is a concern about cost, schedules, and variety.
“Nobody I’ve talked to eats at the 4 p.m. time span,” said Resident Sen.Andrew Goodman. “Would it be possible for the hotline to go longer?”
Another concern brought up by Resident Sen. Harry Wright was about the missing Chickenwich Combo. Yet another was about a lack of coffee cup sleeves, pointed out by Commuter Sen. Justin LaBerge.
“I really don’t want to burn myself, and I feel bad if I take two cups,” he said.
ARAMARK is a business. It constantly needs to make changes in order to thrive. They revise the menus in order to stay competitive with surrounding food businesses. This is why many of the combination meals have disappeared.
“Twice a semester we price out local competitors and try to have quality made-to-order meals,” said Wiacek.
Yet, the majority of the Student Senate is concerned with the pricing.
“Can ARAMARK justify a $2 peanut butter and jelly sandwich?” asked Commuter Sen. Matt Ambroso.
In order to reach a happy medium the students as well as ARAMARK need to work together to compromise on pricing and devise a plan for changes, according to Austin.
He suggested that there should be a student committee in place that would work with the food service committee to make changes.
“If we have students in discussion, participating in decisions, we can improve our communication with making changes,” said Austin.
Celebrate safely on your 21st
On a 21st birthday most people want to go out and have fun.
In a 7-2 vote the Senate agreed to give $150 to a program that would send USM students on and off campus a free pizza coupon for their 21st birthday. The program was devised under the Practice Responsible Alcohol Committee.
“We want to provide a healthy benefit to the 21st birthday in a social welfare effort,” said Commuter Sen. Michael Norton who is part of the PRAC committee.
The coupons will also be endorsed by the Student Senate, which is a way to advertise the group.
At-Large Sen. Leah Marie Wentworth opposed the proposal.
“I personally feel money can be spent better and it is not going to affect behaviors off campus.”
Many senators were concerned that it would only be an advertising venue. Commuter Sen. Benjamin Hoffman feels that student groups tend to be exclusive so the endorsement might improve communications as well as improve one’s decisions on a 21st birthday.
Parking . where have all the spaces gone?
Commuter Sen. Tyler Stanley raised the concern of parking. Gorham residents have complained about the designated parking. Gorham residents can only park in the designated areas, which is more limited than last year. Residents feel they should be allowed to park in the faculty and commuter lots at night and on the weekends. There is talk about getting a petition started on the Gorham campus regarding the issue.
The Free Press concerns
Sen. Michael Norton raised the ongoing affair regarding the relations between The Free Press and the Greek community. There are concerns that the “letters to the editor” section where the Greek community can express their feelings is not effective in the sense that The Free Press still channels out information. Chris O’Connor said, “It is a really good time to look and work with the Student Communication Board, how it needs to be structured.” Ten members of the Student Senate were interested to work with the SCB.
At-large seat filled
The Senate filled one of its two at-large seats with commuter student Jessica Roy.
Student Senate Chair Marcy Muller had an excused absence. She was attending a leadership conference. Sen. Anthony Pergola was absent. Sen. Patricia LaBay was absent.
The exact amount in the Student Senate account is $9, 327.05 according to the Finance Committee.
The next meeting of the Student Senate will take place Friday, Nov. 16 at 10 a.m. in the Upton-Hastings Lounge.
Staff Writer Erin Zwirn can be reached at: [email protected]