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Student Voice on Campus Dining Conducts Outreach to Improve Affordability, Flexibility and Quality

STONY BROOK, NY, April 2, 2015 – Student Voice on Campus Dining representatives conducted outreach efforts prior to spring break to collect feedback to further dining improvements this semester.

The Student Voice on Campus Dining Committee began last semester as a way to gather student opinion on all aspects of the dining program. This group is responsible for representing the student body and acts as a resource to gather student feedback, communicate changes to meal plan holders, and provide recommendations to enhance the overall on-campus dining experience. This committee advises the Faculty Student Association (FSA) Board, representing the opinions and concerns of the student body.

Student Voice members reached out to over two-hundred Stony Brook students and recorded the results from each of the four neighborhoods - Roth/Tabler, Student Activities Center (SAC), Union/Jasmine and West Side Dining. The data was then combined to compare resident feedback with apartment/commuter feedback. Some Student Voice members conducted outreach directly with their constituents while others went into the dining halls to speak with students.

Students were asked about their level of satisfaction related to variety, speed of service, hours of operation and style of service.  They were also asked to provide very specific suggestions on what changes could be made to fix issues they were dissatisfied with.

Highlights of student feedback include:

  • The majority of resident respondents wanted Buenos Nachos at the Union Commons to offer a value menu on Saturday rather than the full Picantes menu to provide more affordability while commuter and apartment students preferred the full Picantes menu to offer more variety.
  • The majority of resident respondents were in favor of offering All You Care to Eat brunch at West Side Dining instead of a la carte salad bar, Pizza, Pasta and Panini and Chef Jet on Saturdays.
  • Ninety percent of apartment and commuter respondents said that their level of satisfaction would increase the most with increased speed of service. Students suggested adding more cashiers and improving the efficiency of the wrap station.
  • More than half of the apartment and commuter respondents said their level of satisfaction would increase if improvements were made for the SAC kiosk ordering system. Students suggested being able to order from their mobile devices as a solution.
  • Seventy percent of commuter and apartment residents wanted the hours of operation extended for the SAC waffle bar and also wanted a coffee island similar to 7-11 added to the SAC Food Court.

When students returned from spring break, changes began as a result of the feedback. Brunch is now being offered at West Side Dining on Saturdays, the Union Commons now offers Halal NY, Buenos Nachos value menu and Native Spice breakfast on Saturdays and waffles are back at the Student Activities Center (SAC) Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.

The student input collected is part of a continuous improvement process that is the basis for a new Campus Dining partnership. The top three priorities for the new Campus Dining contract are affordability, flexibility and quality as demonstrated from the student input received from studies conducted through Center for Survey Research, NACUFS, ACUHO-I EBI, College of Business Marketing classes and FSA student customer advocates.

A Town Hall meeting hosted by Student Voice on Campus Dining in conjunction with the Residence Hall Association (RHA) is scheduled for Monday, April 6 at 8:30 p.m. in the HDV/GLS Center. Students are also encouraged to join the conversation online at  stonybrook.edu/yourdining .

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