Dining Survey: To eat or not to eat …

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Dan Goeddel / Staff Photographer Students in Fusz Food Court, one of the dining options provided by Chartwells. Chartwells’ dining services contract will expire in 2014.

Dan Goeddel / Staff Photographer
Students in Fusz Food Court, one of the dining options provided by Chartwells. Chartwells’ dining services contract will expire in 2014.

Saint Louis University’s Student Government Association sent out a survey earlier this week asking students’ opinions in regards to their on-campus dining preferences.

The survey encompasses a variety of questions regarding students and their thoughts towards on-campus dining.

Students are asked about their living situations, their frequency using on-campus dining, their preferences, their food priorities and more.

It focuses on students’ individual preferences and allows for each student’s thoughts and concerns to be voiced.

“It is a great way to have your food-related concerns heard and will help SLU maximize benefit for students in the future,” President of SGA Blake Exline said.

SGA frequently deals with meal-plan concerns from students, which is one thing that the survey can help to improve. It welcomes any and all issues that students may have regarding on-campus dining, because SGA and the Billiken Dining Services are constantly looking to improve all aspects of campus food and create positive change for students.

“The goal of the food survey is to gain broad student input relating to student views on the many aspects of dining services,” Exline said. “[This is] an attempt to understand what matters most to students when it comes to food at Saint Louis University.”

SGA plays a large role in getting students’ voices heard, and food preferences are no exception. With a whole committee devoted just to students’ food related concerns and an SGA representative who makes food recommendations to the president, the SLU dining services heavily reflect students’ opinions.

The food survey sent out by SGA will thus use students’ input to evaluate food contracts and to impact future dining aspects at SLU.

“Results will be analyzed and directly reported to the University Committee, [which] evaluates and potentially recommends future contracts—in hopes of best fitting the needs of SLU students,” Exline said.

SLU’s current contract with food provider Chartwells is due to expire in the summer of 2014. This means students have the opportunity to have a major voice in SLU Dining Services’ offerings.

Extensive evaluation of on-campus dining preferences and potential service providers — whether renewing a contract with Chartwells or finding a new organization — will help provide critical information for future conversations.

Consideration for the current dining staff is another issue that will be carefully handled in the future, as this is a topic rather dear to many students’ hearts.

“[During] our time at SLU, we often develop[ed] relationships with those who serve in our dining halls, coffee shops, and other locations around campus,” Exline said. “I have heard some initial concerns about what a potential change in provider would mean for our amazing dining staff throughout campus.”

Vice President for Student Development Dr. Porterfield has assured SGA that the school will take careful consideration when managing their decision of food providers and that the current dining staff is a significant factor in this decision.

SGA’s food survey will appear in their weekly mailer for the next couple of weeks to allow students time to participate.