Dining administration addresses DHH closure

Breakfast returning after Spring Break

Students+met+with+dining+representatives+in+a+town+hall+earlier+this+week.+

Max Magni

Students met with dining representatives in a town hall earlier this week.

Tucker Nielsen, Lode Writer

USG and Inter-Residential Housing Council held a dining services town hall on Feb. 22. Associate Vice President for Administration Teresa Coleman-Kaiser and Director of Dining Services Daryl Matthews presented the reasoning for closing Douglass Houghton Hall (DHH) Dining so far this semester. The issue lies in staffing shortages brought on by the pandemic. Both the Dining Manager and a food service helper left in December. Additionally, workers needed days off to deal with illness and weather conditions. The closure is meant to “avoid an unpredictable cycle of being open and closed,” as Coleman-Kaiser explained it. 

She announced that an enhanced continental breakfast is returning to DHH after March 14. This will run Mondays through Fridays from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. Coleman-Kaiser also stated “…we are still being asked by leadership at the university about how we might offer a more comprehensive lunch, whether it would be something that you could take out or serve in the dining hall.” 

After Coleman-Kaiser’s presentation, the board was opened to attending students to ask questions and pose feedback. One student commented on how DHH students have to go to other dining spots on campus to purchase meals. However, these students only received $100 in dining dollars. The student proposed, “…offering DHH residents a refund. I know [another student] was talking about how we are rationing dining dollars to have a better meal, say just grabbing a sub at the Library Cafe.” This comment wasn’t expanded on further.

Another student discussed the importance of DHH’s breakfast for community bonding in response to the suggestion that students cook their own meals as an alternative to the continental breakfast and the closure. She said, “…the number one way I got to meet people was during the DHH breakfast, and I think [with] Wads being so big it’s losing that community aspect cause you really just go with your friends and a lot of people get kind of cast aside.” Coleman-Kaiser added to this idea of community through the dining halls when discussing possibly reducing meal plan blocks for reducing costs: “There is a student-life component that is really important to living in the residence halls and meeting in the dining halls to build community…”

Students also brought up food quality issues at Wadsworth Dining, since the closing was meant to consolidate staff to strengthen service and quality at other dining halls. Concerns included steel wool strands reported in pizza slices, hairs in numerous home-cooked dishes, and undercooked chicken. Matthews responded by urging students to report these as soon as possible: “The more info I get, the more I can change…[There are] QR codes in residence halls to take pictures. Please be very specific because ‘food sucks’’ doesn’t tell me what it means.” Concerns and feedback can be filled out at https://www.mtu.-edu/dinig/about/food-dude/.

 

 

Correction: The former version of this article incorrectly identified Teresa Coleman-Kaiser’s last name as Coleman-Heister and her job title as Associate Vice President for Administration instead of Vice President of Administration. This has since been corrected.