From Starbucks’ new look to Grubhub’s Tapingo takeover, a lot has changed for this school year. The Campus Times sat down this week with Dining Services Director Cam Schauf, General Manager Rachel LaChapelle, and SA President and senior Jamal Holtz to learn what’s different and why.
Lunch prices at Danforth are reduced to $6 on all weekdays, starting Sept. 9. Previously, the $6 price was reserved for Tuesdays and Thursdays. “We would like more students to visit Danforth and Douglass because they get more variety that way,” Schauf said. Reduced entry prices for Douglass after 2 p.m. will also be introduced sometime soon this semester.
Late Night Dining has moved to the Pit. The decision was made after consistent feedback from students about Late Night’s long wait times, inaccurate Tapingo time estimates, and their desire for more seating and closer bathrooms. “The Pit is designed to deal with that,” Schauf said. Late Night at the Pit will serve the same foods as before, with the Wok on Up station transforming into a wingbar.
California Rollin is no longer a restaurant at the Simon Business School. Instead, the shop will pop up at Optikale on Fridays, and the Pit will do sushi rolled to order.
Plastic bags have been eliminated from all shops on campus and the collegetown bookstore. New York state has outlawed plastic bags effective March 2020 but, said Schauf, “We didn’t want to wait that long.”
Schauf also said students should expect to see new food and drink products at all dining halls. For instance, Grab & Go now serves coffee from local brand, Glen Edith Coffee Roasters.
UR chefs have also been experimenting with new food sources, such as fonio, an ancient grain from Senegal. UR chefs have used it as a rice substitute, but have also experimented with using it for a veggie burger and filling for quesadillas.
Pizza dough at the Pit is now made in-house, like at Danforth and Douglass.
Dining has also strived to make food healthier. Danforth and Douglass are now 95 percent free of food additives and sauces at Wok on Up are transitioning to being made in house.
As was announced at the end of last school year, undergraduates now have 100 pages of free printing.
Safe Ride has also received upgrades: It now operates via the app Tapride, where students can see the van’s location, and time estimates for when the car will pick them up and drop them off. The Safe Ride vans are also bigger (seating 15 instead of seven) and branded, with professional drivers (previously, students could be employed as drivers).
Internally, SA is also making changes.
Applications are now open for the Presidential Advisory Council: a committee of 15 to 20 students who will meet once or twice a month to advise student government on ways it can better support student needs. “We want an array of folks from different clubs and background to be on this council,” Holtz said.
Holtz spoke to the motivations behind creating the Presidential Advisory Council. “[There are] many populations who feel they are currently being disenfranchised, because we aren’t connecting with them well and the representation in student government isn’t at its all time best,” he said.
He also plans to empower SA senators to serve students and be leaders on projects. “What I want to eliminate is this system where it’s like go to the president for everything,” he said. “One person can’t get it done.”
Moving forward, Dining Services and SA want students to stay tuned.