Taylor Brown, Correspondent
The Student Government Association has been instigating programs to address student concerns about campus dining, with Housing Representative Natalie Castillo leading the effort. The SGA team has worked closely with the students and Sodexo to bring dining services up to Embry-Riddle standards.
The initiative for dining corrections was addressed with the creation of Castillo’s position in SGA. Castillo said: “If we can make as much change as possible to these departments, I think it’s for the better.”
Recently, Castillo has initiated a new program called Swipe Out Hunger that should begin next fall. The program hopes to support students struggling with food insecurity and financial burdens. Castillo stated: “Whether you’re going through a hardship or maybe a loss in the family so you can’t afford meals anymore, we’ll put, say ten blocks on your eagle card to use at WOW or Earhart’s.”. This initiative will support students with pre-existing meal plans.
For those without meal plans, Castillo and SGA are creating a food pantry. “It’s already kind of in the works, right now it’s food boxes, so students can request one.” This is supported through the Student Nutrition Initiative, and hopes to further support struggling students.
Since the beginning of the semester, SGA has gotten sweet tea in WOW and a spice table in Earharts. But as for next fall, SGA will implement the Bite App for student usage. Castillo told Horizons: “You can order on your phone, and rate the stuff that you eat,” which she explained “is pretty helpful so dining will know what students are liking.” Additionally, students and SGA advocated for Sodexo to stop charging for special events such as Steak Night and Taco Tuesday.
“Overall, the goal is to get more student feedback,” Castillo says, “and create a dining service that works with you.”
SGA is currently going through the dining survey, hoping to get further assessment on campus dining conditions. With questions, comments and other dining concerns, please contact Natalie Castillo at [firstname.lastname@example.org] or find her at SGA office hours. The Culinary Council also holds open meetings where students can voice their opinions on dining. Otherwise, look forward to more dining improvements to come in the Fall 2022 semester.