SGA Food Advisory Board holds first meeting of semester, discusses outcomes of prior decisions

By: 
Ethan Castro
Date: 
Friday, September 8th, 2017

A collaborative effort between the Illinois Tech Student Government Association (SGA) and Residence Hall Association (RHA), the Food Advisory Board (FAB) functions as a direct connection between Illinois Tech Dining Services and the student body. FAB holds biweekly meetings with the management team of Illinois Tech Dining Services to discuss possible change that can be made to better satisfy the student body. Student feedback and suggestions for improvements to the dining experience forms the core foundation of this board, so students are encouraged to reach out to RHA and SGA to make their feedback known.

The first such meeting of FAB was held on Thursday, September 7 at 3:15 p.m. in the Pritzker Club in the MTCC. Present at this meeting were students David Arnold (RHA’s Senator to SGA), Marc Cauinian (RHA’s Vice President), Ethan Castro (another SGA Senator), and Izaebela Mazur (RHA’s Secretary). Alongside Patrick Fina from the Office of Campus Life, Illinois Tech Dining Services was represented by Operations Manager Asa Brown, General Manager Chris Ferenc, and Marketing Manager Eddie Skidmore. Ferenc began the meeting with a recap of what last year’s FAB decisions have led to for the current academic year in terms of dining changes. These changes include the expansions of certain mealtime periods (weekday breakfast has been expanded to 9:30 a.m. and weekend lunch has been expanded to 1:45 p.m.), breakfast items are available in The Commons during select lunch and dinner periods (Friday lunch and dinner now features a breakfast bar and made-to-order omelets are served at lunch and dinner on Mondays), weekend entrée selections (which by the nature of the weekend are limited in comparison to weekdays) are now shying away from including pork (due to many students’ dietary and religious restrictions), stir fry is now available on Mondays and Tuesdays in The Commons, Moose Tracks ice cream is now available every day in The Commons, and the deli station in The Commons now has expanded toasting ability for sandwiches. Although the start of the semester has seen The Commons using disposable dishware, the maintenance on the establishment’s dishwashing equipment should be completed by the time this article is available, so The Commons will return to using traditional chinaware.

The Hot Spots in the Pritzker Club have been “gaining in momentum” according to Skidmore. Skidmore further elaborates that the use of authentic menus and increased publication of these special weekly events should hopefully see more students file in to the Pritzker Club to take advantage of these special deals. The next Hot Spot, planned for Tuesday, September 12 is titled “Haute Dogs” and will feature special hot dogs for sale.

As previously mentioned, FAB meetings are meant to serve as official platforms for the student body to bring their feedback and suggestions for Dining Services in a direct manner. The RHA representatives at this meeting relayed a number of concerns collected from the student body, including the observation that select drinks (Sprite, orange juice, and Diet Coke) from The Commons seems to taste watered down, that signage in The Commons is not being consistently changed between meal periods, and that naan bread tastes “flaky and dry.” Regarding the sodas, Dining Services stated that they would flush the problematic drinks to hopefully resolve the issue. Signage, which has been a historical problem in The Commons, is now being directly addressed by both Skidmore and a student employee, but instance of signage not being changed should still be reported. Finally, the naan bread will also be investigated for its freshness and quality.

FAB meets at 3:15 p.m. Thursdays in the Pritzker Club within the MTCC. If any student has feedback for Illinois Tech Dining Services (either in The Commons or any other dining location on the Mies Campus), they are encouraged to reach out to RHA at rha.iit.edu.