YPSILANTI, Mich. -- Chris Yeadon, the director of dining services, gave a report during the Student Senate regular meeting March 12 with updates on the progress made for dining services over the last few years.
“The big thing coming into this year was the addition to the Eastern Eateries, that’s been super popular as we have seen sales dramatically increased in that location and participation from students increased significantly,” Yeadon said as he opened with the improvements made towards providing a better student dining experience.
One area Yeadon said they struggled with last year was with the hours of operation in dining areas during the weekend, as the Eastern Eateries were not previously open on Fridays or Saturdays.
Yeadon also brought up including more vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options across the campus as they had gotten more requests for those items.
“It has been brought to my attention about halal options during Ramadan, those who are practicing Lent right now to offer a fish option on Fridays,” Sen. Kirk Suchowesky said.
Suchowesky also brought up a discussion he had at the College of Education Ed Talks.
“[Students] don’t really have any options in Porter. Maybe if [dining services] could investigate possibly putting a café in there so they could get coffee or something else in the lounge that they have there.”
Halal chicken options are on Build’s and Sono’s menus but Yeadon added that they should do more in that direction.
Student Sen. Luis Romero also spoke up on different options for vegan eaters.
“The vegan options seem very basic; there is nothing really exciting about eating carrots and peas every day because I can get that at home. Also, with me and others, lactose intolerant and the vegetarian options always seem to have dairy in them. So you either go the limited vegan options or you take the [loss] and get something with lactose.”
Currently there are small side-panels or “secret menus” at many different dining areas that offer different options for vegan and vegetarian eaters, which according to Yeadon, aren’t exactly conspicuous to those who are unaware of the options. There are plans for the future though to get those options and more added to the full menu boards.
Sen. Balaal Hollings then spoke up in regard to the changes made to the Eastern Eateries. Hollings inquired about the inside of Eateries about the TV that was removed after the remodel.
“Who are you asking when you say there are an overwhelming response?” Hollings asked. His questions focused on expanding the options for students to eat on campus.
“I know a lot of people who after a day of classes used to go to the Eateries to hang out around the big TV that it used to have and watch the game and it made it feel like a community,” Hollings said.
Commitment, Community, Creativity and Cultivation are the four C’s of Chartwell, the private company that runs Eastern Dining Services. Hollings pointed these out when expressing his concerns at the removed T.V.
He also expressed his thoughts on the Crossroads Marketplace moving from a different hot dish everyday to chicken tenders with different side choices.
“[The Crossroads Marketplace] used to have Fish Friday or Taco Tuesdays but now it’s primarily side-based meal options and just tenders served as a main dish there,” Hollings said. “I think we should get more influence in the decisions made in dining as a community.”
Yeadon pointed out that dining services has redone and touched up almost every place that you can get food on campus except a few Eagle Cafés. There are no major projects planned until 2020 after the renovations of the Rec/IM, which he mentioned would be the next area for a major project for dining on campus.
Dining services are located at 529 St. Johns Street in the lower level of the Commons in suite 10 and can be found online at www.dineoncampus.com.