Renewing Dining Contract

Seeking student input to lower meal plan cost

Charles Farrell, Director of University Centers, is trying to gather input from students regarding the food services on campus.

The university’s contract with Sodexo is up this year, and Farrell said he is in the middle of the regimented process of renewing the dining contract.

Sodexo has been providing food and facilities management on campus since 2002.

Farrell said when renewing the contract the goal is to get the highest food quality and service at the most reasonable price.

“One of the things that the chancellor has sort of challenged me to do is to see what opportunities there may be to lower our cost.” Farrell said.

Since the school doesn’t subsidize the cost of a meal plan, reduced meal plan prices will benefit students directly, Farrell said.

However, the campus can’t have the program it has now at a lower price, Farrell said. This is why Farrell is looking to determine what students want prioritized in terms of service, variety, convenience and availability.

Senators Scott Small and Jarrett Yuknis both recommended the later evening hours of operation for dining not be sacrificed since many students don’t get the chance to eat until late evening.

Small offered a compromise by suggesting the food options during those later hours be more limited.

Farrell said nothing has been decided yet.

“The only thing we know is going to happen is we’re going to go out and solicit proposals from food service companies,” Farrell said.

Farrell plans to receive more feedback from the Residence Hall Association, the dining committee and an open forum.


In other senate news

Later in the meeting, Student Senate voted on and passed three student organizations – Students Unite, Cosplay and Costume and Car Club.

The senate also passed the legislative priority summary, which serves as a guideline to what the Intergovernmental Affairs Commission and Student Senate plan to focus on for the semester.

One objective Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Katy McGarry, mentioned included the Confluence Project.

The Confluence Project plans to develop a fine arts center, a multipurpose building and apartments near the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers.

Using student advocacy, McGarry said they will be trying to get funds for the Confluence Project from city council.

Money the state legislature was supposed to provide was reduced, so they have to go back to city council to make sure they are still promised those funds, McGarry said.

A new objective McGarry said they included in the summary this semester is mental health advocacy.

Senators took interest in the inclusion of Chancellor James C. Schmidt’s EDI Initiative in the summary, which would increase student of color enrollment to 20 percent while closing the opportunity gap.

McGarry said this means they will be talking to the heads of schools in the Eau Claire school district to figure out why UW-Eau Claire isn’t attracting students of color from the area.