As a staff, we welcome you to our campus and we wish you the best of luck in your new position as dining service providers and managers.
As students, we would like to welcome you to our community.
And as an editorial board, we offer an open letter to you. We’d like to catch you up to speed on certain areas of Knox dining.
As you’ve probably learned, the student body of Knox strives to be inclusive, involved and transparent. Part of that results from our small campus, another from our strong sense of community involvement and activism.
For the past couple of weeks, students have voiced a sort of disconnect with Dining Services. Rumors have flown that the Fat Cave would be taken away, that breakfast bagels wouldn’t be served and that it’s all the fault of the new corporate management.
Though these rumors have been proven false, it’s important to understand that they traveled quickly as a result of a lack of an official voice.
Misinformation spreads fastest in the dark.
With that in mind, we have a few suggestions for your first year at Knox.
First, try to develop a relationship with the student body.
Helmut Mayer, the campus’s last Dining Services Director, was not only part of the college staff, he was part of the campus community. He was a persona in the cafeteria that interacted with students on a daily basis, answered questions and took feedback.
Though this is admittedly difficult with less than half a term under your belt, it would work to your advantage to start now.
Knox students appreciated when Helmut stood at the front of the ‘Friendsgiving’ line, carving turkey and encouraging students to try the tofu pumpkin pie. He pushed us to try new dishes and wanted to know if we liked it. As an editorial board, we appreciated his willingness to talk to us and provide information to the campus about sustainability initiatives and other efforts that would affect the entire campus.
Second, listen to students and pay attention to their needs.
There is a good amount of students at Knox with vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free dietary restrictions. These students depend on your attention, and there have already been many complaints about a lack of options in the cafeteria or Gizmo.
Students have expressed concern about the raised prices in the Gizmo. It’s helpful to explain those, and to tell students why their food costs more.
Third, involve your staff members in the decision-making process, as they’ve been here years longer than even we have, and they understand what works.
Most importantly, communicate with us. Address rumors as soon as they happen, and respond to student feedback.
You can reach us with emails, flyers, posters, etc. Utilize the comment cards in the cafeteria (it’s both a form of entertainment and feedback for students). Use social media to your advantage, especially because Facebook pages for Knox College Dining Services and the C-Store already exist. These are solutions that could have effectively avoided the weeks of miscommunication and rumors.
We’re not opposed to change, but we want to be informed of it when it happens, and we want to be involved.