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Monday, March 8, 2021

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Dining services propose overhaul


UH Dining Services unveiled its proposal Wednesday to overhaul campus-dining facilities and student meal plans.

The proposal is a joint effort of Student Government Association and Residential Life and Housing in response to student concerns about campus dining. Its primary goal is the renovation of the Moody Towers’ dining facilities with new restaurants and a private dining room.

‘This is all the stuff we’ve been asking for,’ SGA President Sam Dike said. ‘Dining was a huge priority (for SGA) and this shows the results of our efforts.’

An improvement in food variety was also a focus at the presentation, with examples of Mediterranean, Italian, grilling and vegetarian restaurants on display.

Dining Services also included a bakery and dessert station to give students a preview of the food they expect to serve.

‘We’ve had complaints that food hasn’t been meeting the students’ needs on campus. This is an opportunity for people to be a part of defining what our campus dining experience should be,’ Dike said.

Instead of choosing among several differently priced meal plans, under the proposed changes, students pay one price for what the University calls the Lifestyle meal plan.

Students determine how much of the plan they receive in Cougar cash versus paid meals. The exact price and meal plan structure for the Lifestyle plan has not been decided.

Dining Services district manager Alisdair MacLean said the change in meal plans was inspired by differences in need between on-campus and commuting students.

‘Some students don’t often eat full meals on campus, whereas their Cougar cash will go fairly quickly. The idea is that now students will choose the plan that best fits their needs,’ MacLean said.

Data from student surveys and an examination of university dining nationwide were considered in the proposal.

Renovations to Moody Towers and Oberholtzer Hall, as well as the construction of Calhoun Lofts, were the foremost reasons for the change, MacLean said.

‘It doesn’t take a lot to see these (dining) facilities could use some updating,’ MacLean said.

Fresh Food Company will replace Real Food on Campus as the campus food provider.’ The new company will move kitchen equipment and refrigeration to the front of the station, allowing food preparation to be made in sight of the student.

Under the proposal, the Moody Towers’ dining area will be renovated to accommodate additional students, seating capacity will be increased and a private dining room with a capacity of up to 100 people will be constructed. According to the proposal, Dining Services expects to serve about 1,950 meals a day with the changes from the current 750 meals.

The Board of Regents will vote on the proposal today, with the changes expected to be in effect for the fall 2009 semester pending the board’s approval, auxiliary customer service coordinator Maria Honey said.

‘(The board) will be looking at all the data,’ Honey said. ‘Students have voiced their opinion.’


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