Dining Committee addresses student feedback

By Alex Kooistra
Correspondent

What do Eickhoff Hall workers Eve Cruz and “Big Larry” Stevens and College spokesperson Dave Muha have in common? All three have participated in the Mindful Mile, which was a topic of discussion at the Dining Services Committee (DSC) meeting on Wednesday, March 9.

Nine students and seven Dining Services employees met in room 324 of the Social Sciences Building at 2 p.m. to discuss current events and promotions available at on-campus dining establishments, as well as student feedback.

Dining Services’s Unit Marketing Coordinator Vince McNeil led the meeting and had the attendees introduce themselves while he handed out the meeting’s agenda.

The meeting began with the students separated from the Dining Services team, but McNeil wanted a more relaxed environment and asked attendees to adjust their chairs so everyone could sit in a circle.

Among the people present were Dining Services Registered Dietician Aliz Holzmann, Director of Culinary and Contract Services Karen Roth and senior special education and history double major Joanna Felsenstein, who has been attending these meetings since the spring semester of her freshman year.

“I have been the Dining Services Committee liaison for Chabad, one of the Jewish groups on campus,” Felsenstein said. “This means I communicate with DSC to ensure that there’s kosher food in Eick, specialty foods for holidays, like latkes for Hanukkah, and kosher food for Passover.”

One of the issues discussed at the meeting was the menu at Eickhoff Hall and the Lion’s Den for Passover, which begins on Friday, April 22. Exercising her role as liaison,  Felsenstein addressed her concerns about what style of kosher would be served at the dining facilities because of some issues with last year’s kosher menu, specifically the inclusion of corn salsa and pasta shells.

Roth alleviated Felsenstein’s concerns and promised her any issues would be promptly fixed.

Traditions, the new restaurant in the Brower Student Center, was another topic of discussion as the Dining Team cleared up some confusion.

“We do serve brunch on weekends,” McNeil said after he learned that students were unaware of that fact.

Discussing the agenda encompassed the majority of the meeting and both the students and the Dining Team were relatively content with all of the included agenda items.

The first half of the agenda discussed various promotions and specials at the on-campus dining facilities. The Lion’s Den will feature the ultimate meatball sandwich and the Cali smoke turkey and aioli Italian sub from Sunday, March 13, to Saturday, April 2. In addition, Eickhoff Hall plans on celebrating certain food days, including World Water Day, which was on Tuesday, March 22.

After discussing the various specials and promotions, Holzmann discussed dietary options on campus and how she is promoting fitness, specifically the Mindful Mile.

The next Mindful Mile of the semester was on Monday, March 21, outside The 1855 Room at noon and will continue every Monday. She leads the participants in a mile walk around campus joined by various prominent figures around campus, such as Stevens, Muha and Cruz last semester.

Holzmann also led the discussion about nominations for the DSC staff member of the month.

“It’s great morale for them to be recognized, not just by us, but by the students,” she said.

Keeping with the topic of honoring the hard workers around campus, the Chef Spotlight series was also mentioned. The Chef Spotlight allows the College’s chefs to showcase international cuisine in The 1855 Room, since they do not always have the opportunity to do so in their day-to-day work.

The meeting continued with McNeil updating the group about the advice they received and how they put the students’ feedback into action. As a result of these requests, Eickhoff Hall now has blueberry syrup and has added Golden Grahams into its cereal rotation.

Finally, the students were able to give feedback about what they feel needs to be improved. Some concerns that were addressed included the direction of the line at Eickhoff Hall’s Roscoe’s Tacos and a proposition that breakfast remain open later on Wednesdays, since many students do not have class.

The Dining Team members promised to look into serving breakfast later, but they felt the taco line had to stay the same in order to make sense with the flow of the service.

The students and the Dining Services team were open in their communication with one another as the students were not afraid to say what they want and Dining Services was honest about what it can and cannot do.

“Working with the administration and Sodexo is really great as a professional experience, but I am really interested in the DSC because I like to know that I can work on making TCNJ better,” Felsenstein said.

Dining Services is looking for the College’s feedback, which can be shared by filling out comment cards around campus or attending the next DSC meeting on Wednesday, March 23.