North Texas Daily

Dining discusses change at Student Food Advisory Committee meeting

Dining discusses change at Student Food Advisory Committee meeting

Dining discusses change at Student Food Advisory Committee meeting
January 19
18:47 2019

On Wednesday, students and faculty met in Crumley Hall for the first Student Food Advisory Committee meeting of the spring semester. With four in total, the meetings are set to occur monthly and will focus on giving and receiving feedback and updates on UNT dining facilities and food.

One of the goals of the meetings is to create a strong relationship and collaboration between dining staff, residents and other students. Those involved aim to provide a better experience for those who utilize campus dining.

“These meetings were started to get feedback from students and student leaders on-campus, so they can have direct communication with people who can effect change or answer directly, what questions they have,” Peter Balabuch, director of residential dining services said. “Basically, [we’re] letting folks know we’re on campus everyday. If you see something on campus that’s not right, or there’s something that we need to do better that is important for us to know [or] something you want to see us do, let us know.”

The retail and resident dining directors briefed the attendees on the updates happening throughout UNT dining services, including the Starbucks in the Union unveiling three UNT-themed drinks, new sandwiches in the Discovery Park café and the addition of the Text and Tell to Kerr Cafeteria.

Text and Tell is an application that students can use to share feedback, questions, comments and concerns directly with the dining staff. It is also available in Bruce and Champs cafeterias and in the Union.

Also discussed were changes set to occur at West Dining Hall. The cafeteria is currently home to a menu based on southern home cooking, but will not be the case in the coming years. The new menu will be revealed this fall.

The dining department is constantly looking to evolve and provide the best experience possible.

Director of Dining Services Peter Blabuch takes questions from students and other dining service members. Image by Vi Tran

“We are always looking at menu updates and interior updates in dining halls, and typically we have the winter holiday break and the summer break where we do that,” Balabuch said. “Right now, the primary thing we’re looking at is anticipating this new stand-alone dining hall that will be coming up. Once they break ground, they told us it will be 15 to 18 months. We’re hoping they’ll be breaking ground by the end of this month.”

Jesus Olipo is the graduate coordinator for leadership and community engagement for housing and resident life and chairs the Student Food Advisory Committee. Olipo believes the meetings are able to educate students about the inner workings of dining.

“There is definitely a trend when it comes down to students wanting to know how many decisions worked or just getting the opportunity to voice their concerns, because many of them don’t know how dining operates,” Olipo said. “There might be some correlation between the issue and the way dining functions.”

Applied behavior analysis senior Abbie Stewart started attending the meetings after being encouraged to while working in the Residence Hall Association. She is no longer a member of the Residence Hall Association, but Stewart still chooses to attend.

“The group of people is really amazing,” Stewart said. “The dining staff is super encouraging and they are open to feedback. I might not be on campus as much anymore but I am still using dining services, so I wanted to make sure I could give my feedback when I have it.”

Everyone is invited to join the meetings. The remaining three meetings will take place on Feb. 13, March 20 and April 17.

Featured Image: Monthly dining service meetings held at the main conference room in Crumley Hall allow students to voice their concerns directly to the dining service faculty. Image by Vi Tran. 

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Kiara St. Clair

Kiara St. Clair

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