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Thursday, June 20, 2024
The Observer

Student Senate discusses student dining, poses suggestions

Student Senate met Wednesday evening for a question-and-answer session with Scott Kachmarik, director of student dining and residences, as well as to approve both the Sophomore and Junior Class Council elections and declare winning tickets.

Appointed to his position in January, Kachmarik introduced upcoming initiatives on staff recruitment and cited catering to student needs about food sourcing, meal plan structures and popular menu items as his main priorities.

Kachmarik also highlighted the importance of student feedback to his role.

“I’ve been spending a lot of time in the dining halls working with the staff. ... I want to make sure I’m spending a lot of time there, figuring out ways to have you approach me, stop me, give me suggestions,” Kachmarik said. “There’s three questions I’ve been asking: What are the things that we currently do that we need to keep doing? ... What things we do that we need to improve on? ... What do we have to stop doing? Clearly as we look at the data, it tells us strawberries are popular. There are some things that we are trying to work on and bring into the menus more consistently.”

Walsh Hall sophomore Senator Sarah Kim addressed the idea of restructuring meal plans and adjusting the balance between Flex Points and meal swipes.

“I just wanted more options. ... A lot of people can’t grab lunch in between classes," Kim said.

Kachmarik emphasized his commitment to working with students to implement initiatives that benefitted them.

“We want to make sure we find that balance between hectic lifestyles and the ability to slow down and connect with each other,” Kachmarik said.

Howard Hall sophomore Senator Amy Smikle brought up the popularity of burger and fajita nights, and the possibility of including meat in the dining halls for non-religious students on Fridays during the observance of Lent.

Welsh Family sophomore Senator Kathleen Flavin expressed hope for better grab-and-go options. However, Kachmarik encouraged students to eat in the dining halls.

“The ... intention of Flex Points and grab-and-go is to serve as a complement to the meal plan, not to replace the meal plan," Kachmarik said. "... Our main goal and our main intentions are for students to eat in the dining hall. Grab-and-go and Flex Points are a way to acknowledge busy lifestyles.”

Due to the event of both the Sophomore and Junior Class Council elections having only one ticket, the Student Senate approved a motion to suspend both elections and declare winners.

The incoming Sophomore Class Council will have Michael Conlon as president, Mary Ninneman as vice president, Christopher Lembo as treasurer and Jane Driano as secretary. The ticket had previously served in the same positions together on Freshman Class Council this year.

Sara Dugan will serve as president of the incoming Junior Class Council with Janet Stengle serving as vice-president, Paul Stevenson as treasurer and Matthew Peters as secretary.

To conclude the meeting, sophomore Becca Blais was re-nominated and approved as Director of Internal Affairs. She will serve until the turnover of the Student Union on April 1.