Senior David Wawzenek, chair of Student Senate’s Dining Services Committee, presented survey results to the Student Life Committee regarding students’ opinions on the quality and accessibility of food on campus. Director of Dining Services Helmut Mayer uses the survey to determine how to better cater to the student body.
As of Tuesday, only 12 percent of the student body has responded to the survey. Despite the disappointing turnout, Wawzenek is optimistic about receiving more feedback since the survey is still active online.
Many students have complained about the menu’s lack of variety, but Mayer was unsure on how to go about fixing such a problem since people have different interpretations of food variety. The survey was supposed to provide Mayer with more detailed findings on the sort of foods Knox students craved.
According to Wawzenek, Mayer has been very receptive to student contributions, often providing suggestions and even providing questions from previous food-related surveys. Apart from the Hard Knox Cafe, many students feel that the vegetarian and vegan selection leaves a lot to be desired.
Results showed that the most popular place to eat was the cafeteria due to its central location and availability. Students expressed greater satisfaction with the cafeteria than the Oak Room, the Gizmo and the two Grab-‘n-Go stations.
SLC members discussed the three underlying food-related problems: the limited vegetarian options, the underutilization of the Oak Room (which is only open on weekdays for lunch and dinner) and the long Grab-‘n-Go lines.
One of Helmut’s proposed solutions for increasing inefficiency in the Out Post Grab-and-Go was to transform the Out Post pantry into a full-fledged Grab-n’-Go station with three lines instead of one. The current Out Post Grab-‘n-Go station would then become an extension of the C-Store.
Mayer spearheaded the expansion of the Out Post plan last year but was not able to follow through since other construction projects around campus took financial precedence. Instructor in Art Mike Godsil ‘76 suggested engaging the Institutional Planning Group to get the ball rolling again on Out Post and Grab-‘n-Go expansion. Such changes would decrease the time spent waiting in line, which thereby increases efficiency.
Other suggestions include installing more Grab-‘n-Go type arrangements in other parts of campus like the Taylor Lounge and the Gizmo patio. The main goal is to get more students outside the cafeteria, which has been experiencing crowding issues due to the limited space and the increase in student body. Plans to further increase the student population will make it even more imperative to find a solution to the crowding issue.