Student Food Committee Meeting Notes

Student Food Committee Meeting Minutes
Date:  Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Location:  Mabie Room, Sawyer Library
Start:  6:04 p.m.
Adjourned:  6:47 p.m.
Minutes:  Sharon Marceau


Temesgen Araya                                                                     Christian Lockwood
Gayle Donohue                                                                       Ben Hearon
Mark Thompson                                                                     Katherine Melkonian
Sharon Marceau                                                                     Kyle Sung
Jerry Byers
Molly O’Brien

Christian L. – started the meeting with greeting and welcoming by thanking Ben for running last month’s meeting then asked for any comments.

Christian L. – Wanted to note that now spring semester had started and Lee After Dark was back in service that it confirmed they were not closing.  He received quite a bit of feedback and the Record even published an article.

Ben H. – Curious—enjoyed the backlash and feel that the sense of the committee was utilized.  Why did you do a test pilot?

Temesgen A. – from an operations perspective, it went well.  We were able to combine staff and menu items.  There was negative student feedback about layoffs of employees—untrue—trying to make opportunities for staff for training in January and by condensing some units we will be able to free up employees to attend.

Christian L. – a lot of misinformation

Temesgen A. – successful—were able to cover for the flu, short term disability so the second person was able to help and backfill positions to cover.

Christian L. – perhaps publicity for dining—many meetings as Dining can provide if it were to be a long-term solution.  Also mentioned was perhaps a training space in Sawyer on the first floor for a training area for students to learn a life skill such as cooking or preparing food.  Instruction provided by Dining.

Gayle D. – We just concluded a Winter Study class which teaches students the basics on easy prepared and cooked meals.

Christian L. – perhaps it is something that could be incorporated in to the semester.  Also inquired about the idea of expanding current swipes into the Spring Street, Bookstore area.

Temesgen A. – currently the Bookstore’s coffee program was awarded to a local entrepreneur

Gayle D. – Spring Streets swipes have been brought but never incorporated, not sure why.

Temesgen A. – equivalency would not match a spring street swipe of $7.

Christian L. – What about the possibility of adding guest meal swipes during the beginning of each semester.  Why wait?

Temesgen A. – Bonus meals for the 21 and 14 meal plans are different and with change week the week after semester begins, it would cause significant problems within the system.

Temesgen A. – we will research for the best impact.

Christian L. – it would be very helpful for students because usually family is here the first week of semester and they can be utilized during this time.

Christian L. – announced the College Council restructure phase—may affect the Food Committee—would be a different umbrella if anything changes.

Katharine M. – most will start next year—power structure 3/1

Temesgen A. –table committee of 5 students which then would pick a chair of approved committees

Christian L. –committees would solicit student applications for the following year.

Temesgen A. – announced we have begun the RFP process for our prime and secondary vendors and have asked for student participation.

Temesgen A. – looking for the best overall package on who can provide for all the various categories.

Christian L. – announced that the Wraps program has mentioned we have been significantly reducing waist on the sustainability front.

Kyle S. – was off campus for 6 weeks for Winter Student in San Francisco and alumni from that area were mentioning the Lee/Whitmans incorporation of late night.

Katharine M. – why don’t meal plans roll over from week to week so if one particula4r week you were running out of meals you could use a surplus meal.

Temesgen A. – because we are a dormitory campus the 14-meal plan is the lowest plan students can be on living in a dorm.  Our main objective is to feed students.

Sharon M. – mentioned that laundry swipes in Brooks House were unavailable currently due to system upgrades and will be working on fixing within the next week.

Jerry B. – Whitmans’ currently had a menu transformation with no frozen product—fresh meat and veggies—48 hours of when eating.  Currently working through the 4-week menu cycle, please be patient we may experience a hiccup or 2.

Temesgen A. – This is a permanent change and we are currently asking a lot of staff and it’s a little rocky start initially, however, staff will receive further training so we do not want to increase foot traffic more than usual until all the bugs are worked out and then we will market the new concept.

Mark T. – working on presentation—dumpling bar with various slaws—Baja bowl (deconstructed taco).  Looked great.

Christian L. – once everything is ironed out, signage and marketing of the new concept would be great for students to see changes.

Temesgen A. – at this point we would like the element of surprise.  We are spiralizing our own veggies, etc.  Changing Whitmans’ slowly.

Christian L. – the fresh aspect should be a celebrated fact.

Mark T. – I think it has been noticed already by the students

Jerry B. – we haven’t marketed the concept and are having huge numbers (753 dinner) just by word of mouth.

Temesgen A. – We strive to be better every day.

Christian L. – All great news and work and would love to help communicate.

Temesgen A. – great we will work on a plan.

Jerry B. – we have given up freezer space for refrigerated space.

Temesgen A. – space is at a premium for fresher options with a higher flavor profile.

Temesgen A. – announced we are hosting NESCAC Swim and Dive teams and you will see operational changes but will be posted (signage) and daily messages.

Molly O. – announced Winter Carnival dinner on Thursday with steak au poivre, French macrons, come and check things out.

Temesgen A. – announced the menus in the houses for Winter Carnival will be French themed.

Christian L. – then asked for any more questions or comments.  None noted, meeting adjourned at 6:47 p.m.

Next meeting to take place on Tuesday, March 3rd, at Mission Park, Dennett Room.