RHA to host forum for student dining concerns
Published: Monday, September 23, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 21:09
The Residence Hall Association, RHA, will host a meeting with the University Dining Services 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Hullabaloo Hall Multipurpose Room to express student concerns about the current meal plans on campus.
At the meeting, a University Dining Services representative will be present to respond to concerns from students about the dining plan changes for the 2013-2014 school year.
Amanda Woodrow, secretary for the Clements Hall RHA and junior mechanical engineering major, said a representative from Dining Services would attend the meeting to explain the meal plan and answer questions.
“We want not only information for our residents, [but] to voice complaints commonly brought up by students,” Woodrow said.
Collin Lamar, president of Clements Hall and freshman business major, said the RHA hopes to walk away from the meeting with more insight for its residents on the status of the meal plan and to provide good representation for on-campus residents.
“The goals of the meeting are to represent the residents’ desires in order to achieve meal plan options that better suit residents on campus and satisfy our dining needs in a more effective manner,” Lamar said.
Chartwells, the company in charge of University dining, said it supports students’ rights to freedom of speech and appreciates all student feedback.
Gina Capetanakis, marketing manager for Chartwells at Texas A&M, said changes in dining plans are the result of the University trying to provide a larger variety and greater quality of food options to students.
“Meal plans change or increase in order to provide better food options, enhance services and additional places for students to eat,” Capetanakis said. “A price increase corresponds with a quality increase across many aspects of the campus dining experience.”
Woodrow said the meeting is open to all students, and members of RHA will bring questions at the request of their residents.
“Some of the concerns are that meals can only be used at limited places depending on the time of day,” Woodrow said. “The quality of food has significantly decreased since the change in dining services. Some restaurants don’t even have a menu and the food is old and unappetizing.”
The meeting is preceded by other initiatives to bring student opinion to University Dining Services’ attention. Alex Parker, sophomore visualization major, started a petition through Change.org to request the University revert the dining plan to last year’s system.
Although she has since been informed that the petition will probably not amount to anything due to the lack of Universal Identification Numbers, and therefore an inability to track students associated with the petition, Parker has kept it online as a location where students and parents alike can post comments about the new meal plan.