The new Dining Advisory Committee, which held its first meeting this week, was formed in order to facilitate discussion regarding dining services on campus. The committee formation was spearheaded by Student Government Association senator Liliana Diaz with the direction of David Tuttle, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students.
The committee currently includes 25 students and welcomes new members, who are encouraged to speak to Diaz about joining if they are interested.
“I [have been] pushing since last year for there to be a consistent student communication channel in response to some of the negativity around Mabee,” Tuttle said. “Senator Diaz has been working this semester to put it in place.”
Trinity was ranked 74th nationally by The Daily Meal for quality of college dining. This relatively low ranking prompted the Dean to encourage SGA to help improve dining experiences for students at the university at a variety of levels.
Following this development, Diaz began researching the policies of higher-ranked schools in this listing to see what might be applicable on Trinity’s campus as well. She also began working to create the new Dining Advisory Committee with the goal of providing students with an open communication line to improve dining on campus. The committee was created in part due to student complaints regarding dining, which were often too broad and did not allow for specific action; they hope to outline and address more specific issues to improve the dining experience. A number of interested applicants for the committee contacted Diaz with the intent of representing students with particularly dietary restrictions or allergies, indicating that these are issues the committee hopes to address. Though Aramark was not involved with the initial design process, Diaz is meeting with Food Service Director Miguel Ardid.
“I wanted to make sure that there was a voice on the committee for people who are gluten-free or have some food allergy,” said committee member Tyler Boelts.
An email was sent out by SGA president Evan Lewis on Oct. 27 informing students of the formation of the new committee and requesting that anyone interested in joining contact Diaz. Diaz received a number of responses, and the new committee has held a meeting with 10 members in attendance, with others absent due to exams. A great number of the responses were from people with special dietary restrictions. The committee is still open to new members should they be interested. It is developing a survey for students to communicate what they want from their dining experience, and one member, junior Hayley Sayrs, is drafting a survey for Aramark employees in order to learn their opinions on what would be the best changes for Mabee.
“We will be the liaison between [students and Aramark] in hopes of making changes,” Diaz said. “I strongly feel that every voice should be heard, and it is nice to have a variety of opinions.”
The committee will meet bi-monthly to discuss progress and new projects.