We think we speak for most when we say that the huge line snaking through Seymour Gallery, a hurdle for many trying to navigate Seymour Union, was far from anyone’s favorite part of the day. Yet its vanishing from a lack of hot meals is only part of a now larger change in Dining Services: the plan to potentially move the Grab-n-Go to the Carl Sandburg Lounge.
The reasoning is certainly hard to argue against Ð fire safety trumps quick and easy food ten times out of ten. This move will appease fire code, but likely raise new frustrations over an increased loss of study spaces even if it is well integrated into the space.
For many, the lounge has been a quiet option close to snacks and printing resources, one of a kind within a residence hall. After the loss of spaces in the Center for Fine Arts and little to no new study spaces that meet varied studying needs, this hit will be especially sorely felt by those seeking a quiet group study space. Although Knox has no endless supply of usable spaces, the school should still seek an accommodation for this loss if possible.
Yet, it’s not all doom and gloom. Dining Services will now allow for left over Dining Dollars each term to roll over as opposed to dissipating each term. This insures that students will be able to still get what they’ve paid, have access to food during breaks if need be and still have the option to donate swipes to events or organizations like Blessings in a Backpack. It’s exciting to see the school being responsive to student concerns and frustrations – even more so to see moves being made to alleviate food insecurity on the end of food access.
This is echoed in the decision to move the food bank to a more central and spacious location. Rather than grabbing food from what may well just be a poorly lit utility closet, the new space allows for a larger variety of options and sets the foundation for the food bank to serve the community even more effectively. However, there is still a long way to go for this space to provide reliable, nutritious and whole foods rather than processed foods and condiments.
With an organic inspired farm in our own backyard, the provision of fresh produce should be one at arms length. Considerations must also be made for other root causes regarding food insecurity, such as affordability and community access. Knox and Bon Appetit influence directly how much pay workers receive. This puts them in a strong position to resolve this issue from a myriad of different angles.
We are glad to see our services working alongside not only other committees and sections of the campus, but with students and their needs. This community works best when it works for us all. Food insecurity is an issue particularly given to the input and needs of a variety of different people, so we hope this accountability is kept up.
We also hope it can be extended to less serious issues as well, like the use of various academic spaces for other needs that may undermine studying. Cooperation centered on the needs of the community our school is serving — the students, staff, and faculty — must remain at the heart of these changes.