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SGC hears from Dining Services about future plans for meal exchange service and provides feedback

From+left%2C+Sophomore+Senate+Chair+Nikki+Sutera+and+Lili+Chalfant%2C+School+of+Communications+Senator.+Chalfant+was+appointed+to+the+Appropriations+Committee+during+the+meeting.
Clark Roque Royandoyan
From left, Sophomore Senate Chair Nikki Sutera and Lili Chalfant, School of Communications Senator. Chalfant was appointed to the Appropriations Committee during the meeting.

The Ithaca College Student Governance Council met Feb. 12 to hear from Reginald Briggs, senior director of Dining Services, to discuss the reasons for implementing the meal exchange service, plans for dining services and to hear feedback on how meal exchanges are being received around campus. The council also confirmed new members on the Appropriations Committee. 

Briggs started the presentation by providing context to the college’s dining services situation before 2020. 

“From the inception of the school, the school paid a [third party vendor, Sodexo] to come in and provide food to the campus community,” Briggs said. “In 2019, we became self-operated.”

Briggs said Dining Services has always had an issue with overcrowding in the Campus Center Dining Hall area, and the meal exchange service is a way to provide an alternative meal choice away from that area for students.

“What we needed to solve was trying to find a way to get people out,” Briggs said. “We started to think about a meal exchange program, which is not uncommon in a college setting, and basically ended up with what you have today.”

Briggs also discussed the plans Dining Services has for the college, including the future of South Hill Sweets — a bakery that will open in the Campus Center during Fall 2024 — and the upcoming Spring Food Show, an event where the college’s Dining Services and Performance Food Group collaborate and have food vendors offering students their food for free. Briggs said the event will take place March 27.

“[South Hill Sweets] will be a fun spot where you can breeze past and grab a cupcake or éclairs and [have a look at the] whole pastry case, it will be a space where you won’t be able to order through the Grubhub app [instead telling the cashier what you want]” Briggs said. “People would be able to order like three dozen cupcakes for an event or a party and pre-place the order.” 

After the presentation, Briggs opened the floor for feedback from the SGC on what dining services gets right and what it could do better. 

Senior Molly Hankinson, Class of 2024 senator, asked Briggs what benefits the college gained from switching from a third-party vendor to being self-operated. 

Briggs said the college’s former vendor, Sodexo, was a contention between students and Dining Services and that the food cost was cheap, but as an in-house vendor, the college has more freedom on what they can make and can avoid costs.

“At that particular time, there was a pretty big groundswell that was more like anti-Sodexo,” Briggs said. “At that time, the student body in particular was not happy. You can look up all the old Ithacan articles.” 

Sophomore Ty Anderson, vice president of Residential Affairs, asked about plans the office had to combat food waste in the dining halls.

Briggs said that the college does not waste as much food as people think and that while most of the food waste is from the dining halls, it is mostly trimmings that people could not eat. 

“Between Terraces [Dining Hall] and Campus Center Dining Hall, we might put out somewhere between 20 to 30, 25-gallon totes that are all compost,” Briggs said. “[The compost of the food mostly] is all the trimmings like the butt-end of lettuce or carrot peelings.”

The council then held confirmations for sophomore Lili Chalfant, School of Communications senator; sophomore Dante Conde, Class of 2026 senator, and first-year student LaRon Pigford, first-generation senator, to the Appropriations Committee.

Chalfant said she wanted to join the committee because she wasn’t able to be a part of the Academics Policy Committee (APC). Chalfant said that she believes the Appropriations Committee will be a good experience for her and that she has experience with budgeting as an RA. 

“I’ve had to make a couple of budgets for RA events,” Chalfant said. “I’m not going to say I’m an expert, but I’m looking forward to putting the work and the effort we brought on for this.” 

Conde said that he was previously on the Appropriations Committee in Spring 2023 and that this experience means he is ready to be a valuable member of the Appropriations Committee.

“I have worked closely with a lot of clubs, and if anyone has any questions, regardless of who it is on campus, I’m really happy to direct them in the right place and show them what we do in appropriations,” Conde said. “I hope that I can be a valuable member to the committee”

Pigford said that he wanted to join the Appropriations Committee because it allowed him to get more connected with student organizations on campus and that he is very experienced with managing budgets. 

“[One aspect of the Appropriations Committee] that stuck out to me is how interactive you are with different student organizations. I’m excited about talking to different people from different backgrounds across the campus,” Pigford said. 

The council then declared an executive session and Sophomore Senate Chair Nikki Sutera announced to SGC members who are not seniors that there are positions on the council that are open for next semester, including the president of the student body, vice president of academic affairs and chief of staff.  

Sutera then announced the departure of two members of the council, Cameron Small, Class of 2025 senator, and Eva Horst, Class of 2027 senator. Sutera said that they had to make a difficult decision and that she hopes everyone on the council wishes them the best.

The council then moved on to a senator report given by Asata Rothblatt, Class of 2026 senator. Rothblatt said that she is doing a workshop on issues to address on campus for first-year students during Emerging Leaders Weekend and that they can come back and present what they did to the SGC. 

“For Emerging Leaders Weekend, I’m going to do a workshop about hot topics on IC campus. The students will get in small groups that talk about hot topics. Then they have the option of presenting it after this weekend to SGC.” Rothblatt said.

Senior Carli McConnell, president of the student body, announced that she will be meeting with President La Jerne Cornish and Paula Younger, executive director of government, community and constituent relations, and for the council to send in any questions they have for them. McConnell said the meeting with Younger will be about Younger’s initiatives in the position. 

McConnell also announced that a Students of Color Coalition Bill (SOCC) is in development. McConnell also said that Senior Student Trustee Alexa Rahman will be leaving her position soon and that the council is in the process of finding her a new trustee. 

“Additionally, we are working on what is going to be the SOCC Senator Bill … Alexa Rahman is the student trustee, her position is coming to an end this June,” McConnell said. “We are helping her find her new trustee. That’s only available for first-years and sophomores because it’s a two-year term.” 

The SGC is the sole representative body for the Ithaca College student community. The SGC can be contacted at [email protected].

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