Students enjoy campus dining changes so far
September 12, 2005 —
Sitting at one of the round tables situated near the fireplace, Angela Strouse eats a late dinner at the RFoC. The SVSU freshman enjoys the new buffet-style of eating that the Real Food on Campus offers and remarks that it is "pretty cool how they change the food throughout the day."
Feedback from students regarding the dining services transformation has been generally positive. RFoC is one of the latest waves of dining additions at SVSU, and is the first ever buffet-style establishment on campus.
Angela, like all other on-campus freshmen, has a mandatory meal plan of at least 13 meals per week to be redeemed at the "all you can eat" RFoC. Though she is unable to compare it to previous SVSU dining arrangements, Angela thinks that the RFoC is "a great idea" and enjoys the freedom to eat whenever she wants.
The Living Center North resident also enjoys the proximity of the RFoC to her dorm, and the ease of paying for her meal with her Access SVSU card. Her complaints are few.
"The only suggestion I would have is to maybe put less food out (at one time)," she says. "The food sometimes gets cold."
Penny, an employee of RFoC, who didn't give her last name, wipes off the cold bar counter, the area where students can assemble their own plates of salads, fruits, salsas, and other chilled foods.
"Students seem to enjoy the layout and good variety," she says. She also noticed that the diners "seem to enjoy building their own salads."
Gavino Vega, a student RFoC employee enjoying his break, sums up his impression of the new RFoC in one word: wonderful.
"The atmosphere is great," he says. "It changes the fellow students' attitude towards the school, and improves the image of the campus."
He also notes that there is less food trash left in the hallways. This stands as evidence, he believes, that the student body has a renewed respect for the campus.
He has heard very few negative comments in regards to the RFoC, which usually involve the price of the meals.
Ron Portwine, as director of University Housing and Auxiliary Operations, has also heard minimal negative feedback from the student body.
Overall, the comments have been "very positive - so far, so good." However, this assessment may be premature.
"Students have to juggle schedules as the semester progresses," he says. "It takes a few weeks for the students to get into their patterns."
Once theses patterns are established, Portwine says, it will be easier to see where adjustments need to be made and whether student participation at the RFoC is above or below the expected levels.
"(Student) volume is up right now, but students are constantly changing meal plans," he says.
Currently, just over 80 percent of the 1,871 on-campus students have a meal plan.
Portwine admits that the new campus dining services (which are not just limited to the RFoC) have been a "pretty big undertaking," but is pleased that only minor concerns have been raised so far.
In light of these early successes, Portwine believes that this project has been a strong step in the right direction for SVSU.
"We went into this project with higher expectations," he says. "(We are) trying to raise the bar of the campus dining services."