Town Hall Meeting Offered Nothing

I am writing in response to the Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 23 regarding Dining Services. The actions that Dining Services are taking in its new plan are in many ways contradictory with the points that they outlined in their mission.

First, Dining Services neglected their goal of providing more variety and healthier options on campus.

A proposed idea was to replace Mel Express with a Starbucks, thus losing a place to get a hot and quality meal on campus – one of the few vegan and vegetarian ones at that – as well as losing smoothies and other options at Common Ground. Why is Dining Services replacing a place to eat with a caf? This proposed idea also goes against the goal of Dining Services to be more sustainable and differentiate UR from its peers. Dining services should consider supporting local businesses and creating unique dining experiences.

Lastly, to put a Starbucks on campus would be a step backward for Fair Trade. Less than five percent of Starbucks’ purchasing is Fair Trade. They offer a C.A.F.E. certification on some coffees, but this is a very weak certification in comparison.

At the Coffee Tasting Competition last spring, Starbucks finished fourth in coffee tasting and business practices. Why is the fourth place finisher getting a coffee shop in the epicenter of campus, while the first place finisher, Pura Vida, has only a kiosk in the new BME/Optics building?

These ideas do not seem to carry out Dining Service’s mission.

-Justin PeczkowskiClass of 2009

Dining Services Clarifies Time Change

At the Students’ Association forum on Oct. 18, I announced that Dining Services would be extending the hours of Hillside to 2 a.m., Sunday through Wednesday, beginning after Thanksgiving break. That announcement was premature. We will be extending Hillside’s hours, but not until the beginning of the second semester.

In our excitement and eagerness to respond to our student customers and their desire for later services, we (Dining Services) left out a very important step. We forgot to talk to our student staff.

If we make the change during the fall semester, we are asking everyone who currently works a closing shift, on Sunday through Wednesday night, to work an extra hour, and many of our student employees feel like they don’t have that time to give, especially at that time of year. We would be changing their shifts late in the semester, and they had no say in this decision. Many of our student employees believe that this is unfair, and I have to agree with them. We should have consulted with them, and we should give them a choice.

After discussing this decision with our staff, we will delay this new service until the start of second semester. That will give us a chance to set new schedules and allow our employees to sign up for shifts, knowing what they were getting. I apologize for the premature announcement, but we have an obligation to our employees to include them in this process. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly.

-Cam Schauf Director of Campus Dining Services & Auxiliary Operations

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