June 2, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 81°F


SGC discusses new meal plans and employment with Dining Services

Ithaca College’s Student Governance Council welcomed Reginald Briggs, associate director of Dining Services, to discuss changes coming to the Campus Center Dining Hall and all meal plans.

The meeting began with Briggs outlining how meal plans will be changing next semester. The meal plan focuses on allowing people to use more swipes in more places.

“The dining hall is a nice place and awesome people work there, but the room is simply too small,” Briggs said. “There is no getting around the fact [that] at 12:30 every day of the week Campus Center Dining is chaos.”

One meal plan option would allow students to use 24 meal swipes a week with seven meal exchanges, allowing students to use these meal exchanges at smaller food stations, like the ones in the Roy H. Park School of Communications and the Ithaca College Library. Other plans allow you to expand to more meal exchanges with fewer swipes available. 

“[This] should be a really great option to students wanting to get something quick to eat,” Briggs said. “My understanding is that all students will be defaulted into the main meal plan.”

Dining Services is facing understaffing, an issue it has dealt with the entire semester. Briggs said Dining Services is searching for a permanent Dining Services director, as well as many other roles. With roles opening, Briggs said Dining Services are slowly seeing an increase in employment. 

“We changed the structure to the dining program,” Briggs said. “It allowed us to nudge the wages up for all our staff. … We hired eight people this semester, compared to five people all of last year.”

With having these meal exchanges available at different cafes across campus, Dining Services hopes to lessen the amount of people at Campus Center Dining Hall during lunch. Since the issue is space, Briggs said that building or expanding the Campus Center Dining Hall is still being considered as a future plan.

“I hope this is a bridge to something more substantial,” Briggs said. “Everyone knows the facility is too small. … We’re discussing [expansion] as a possibility.”

Senior Grace Madeya, president of the student body, talked about how students are wondering if any changes have been made in Dining Services regarding the physical altercation that occurred in Terrace Dining Hall on Feb. 19. Briggs mentioned that staff has discussed this, but it is very difficult to confront directly, saying it may be a structural issue. 

“There were a lot of people that made a lot of bad decisions,” Briggs said. “We have had conversations with staff but it’s certainly an uncomfortable situation to have. … There were so many situations on the way where multiple staff members could have got it under control but chose the other path. … It’s certainly something we on the dining team don’t want to move forward with.” 

First-year student Rishabh Sen, vice president of campus affairs, asked if any changes will be coming to the cafes and smaller eateries in future semesters. Briggs said the cafes will have larger menus, explore different themes in food, incorporate healthier menus and may, in the far future, have delivery systems.

“All these cafes will have these amenities,” Briggs said. “I just don’t know if they’ll have them off the bat.”

Briggs mentioned that students should expect the first few weeks of this new system to be very experimental, and that he has never seen an opening of a system like this before.

“This first semester is a super soft opening,” Briggs said. “We want you guys to come in and find some problems we can fix. … I’m hugely afraid of over-promising.”

Before leaving, Briggs acknowledged the negative stigma and past association with the dining hall and that Dining Services is trying to change the narrative. 

“I’m proud of where we’re going, but there’s so much to do,” Briggs said. 

Madeya, Sen, first-year student Senator-at-Large Matthew Williams and sophomore Senator-at-Large Cameron Small presented an amendment to the SGC constitution that would add two representative seats to the board. This amendment has been workshopped for the past two weeks and has been the subject of many ongoing discussions. This bill would add an ex-officio from the Students of Color Coalition and a first-generation seat on the council. 

“This [bill] is more, ‘Make sure you’re representing your constituents,” Madeya said. “Kinda like senators-at-large but for first-gen students.”

First-year student Eleanor Paterson, class of 2026 senator, motioned to pass the amendment. The amendment was passed in a vote of 7–0 with one abstention.

During senator reports, Madeya said the Appropriations Committee is out of funding for Spring 2023. 

“This is awesome because it means we gave a lot of student orgs funding for events and travel,” Madeya said. “Student orgs can still request money for [Fall 2023] if they need.”

Finally, Senate Chair senior Austin Ruffino reminded the board about upcoming elections for the SGC. President and vice president roles are open in the upcoming election, including senate chair. Every member’s role will expire at the end of April and will need to reapply soon. 

“If you are interested in the senate chair, that position is open,” Ruffino said. “If you are planning [to] reapply, which I hope you all do, then please do that as soon as you can.”

The SGC is the sole representative body for the Ithaca College student community. The SGC can be contacted at sgc@ithaca.edu.