SGA talked with Barnard Dining about their plans for the semester.

SGA began with a couple of open announcements. Office hours will happen on Wednesday from 3 to 5 pm in Liz’s Place: you should stop by! SGA also noted that there are a couple of events happening at the library which sound pretty neat which they also encourage everyone to come by. Class councils are also open, so feel free to join them as well.

This week’s presentation came from Barnard Dining. Livia Drake, the resident district manager, introduced herself and the rest of the team who run and manage the dining halls. She then presented an event Barnard Dining is running on Thursday, where they will ask students to write notes that will be sent along with coloring books and cookies to the Boys and Girls Club of Harlem. Dining also gave a preview of what is coming up in the next few months, including specific events and larger changes such as seasonal menus and in-house-made vegan desserts. Dining also touched on the calorie counts displayed on foods. They acknowledged that it is not enough to make culinary decisions, but mentioned the legal requirement that they have. Recent changes have let students hide these counts if they want, however. The presentation moved on to Dining plugging the Boost app as a streamlined way to order food and encouraging every student to use it. There are gonna be a few in-person stands to say what the app does—stop by! The presentation ended with a celebration of the team that makes Dining work: the most senior associate has been on the team for 44 years, and the average time working at Barnard Dining is 27 years. 

During the Q&A, a student asked about price disparities between grocery stores and Barnard Dining while using Dining Dollars—for various items, the cost is over twice as much as it is at Whole Foods. Barnard Dining responded that they look at pricing at local places when setting their prices and that they would look into it. Other questions included clarifications about confusion over the relationship between dining dollars and meal swipes and progress on reorganizing the meal plan. Further questions discussed the relationship between Barnard Dining and their higher-ups: one question focused on how Dining ensured that any contracted work was ethically done, and another one was about how the names of foods were sometimes culturally insensitive (these names were often taken from Chartwells, the company that Barnard uses). 

One more thing before signing off—you can donate meal swipes over email! If you’re interested, just shoot an email during the last three weeks of the semester. There’s going to be more information, but stay tuned.

Barnard Dining via bwarchives