The University will alter its much-maligned mandatory spending policy so students can roll over between half and all of their remaining funds to the next academic year.
Freshmen and sophomores who have spent more than half of their mandatory J Street dining dollars are slated to see a complete rollover of their remaining funds, Sodexho officials told Student Association leaders Tuesday. Students who have used less than half of their J Street dollars will have about half of their remaining funds roll over to their dining dollars accounts for next year.
“Sodexho at this point has formally said that they are willing to implement rollover for freshmen and sophomore students,” SA President Nicole Capp said. “It won’t be 100 percent (of the required spending money), but I doubt there is one student on this campus who has not spent a dime at the J Street venue.”
Freshmen are required to spend $1,400 per academic year at the J Street dining venue and sophomores must use $500. This is the first year Sodexho and the University implemented a mandatory spending plan.
Capp, a junior, said she is happy Sodexho has been receptive to student concerns, but that the work to fix dining issues on campus is not yet complete.
“Dining has been my number one issue since day one,” Capp said. “Initiating rollover is encouraging but this dialougue and more improvements must continue to occur next year and beyond.”
Students who get some or all of their funds rolled over must still spend that money at J Street next year. Capp said this offer by Sodexho shows the value of student input and lobbying.
“I think this (offer by Sodexho to implement rollover) is a testament to the fact that the dialogue between students and administrators is working,” Capp said.
Francis Murray, the SA’s director of dining and retail services, said Sodexho’s offer to rollover fundsis not yet official. Murray, a sophomore, said the percentage of funds that will rollover will not be official until April 18 when Sodexho presents its offer to University administrators.
Rollover is not the only thing Sodexho offered students on Tuesday.
Officials also said they are also willing to open a kosher kitchen and dining venue and to revamp the current dining setup to add more healthy food options.
These ideas for improvement came from online dining survey sent last February that was completed by more than 2,000 students.
“(Some ideas) include a face lift for J Street, which could possibly include a double sided salad bar, an expanded gourmet desert area and a Free Trade Coffee Stand,” Murray said.
Freshman Sarah Kagan said the addition of a kosher kitchen would allow her to eat a wider variety of foods at the J Street venue.
“I keep kosher and I can only eat a salad here,” Kagan said. She added if a kosher café were constructed in J Street that she would spend more money at the venue.
Freshman Josh Bailey said he is glad his unspent funds will rollover, but wants Sodexho to do more.
“For students to be happy, they should get rid of mandatory spending, but (rollover) makes it one step closer to making students happy,” Bailey said.
Torey Franks, a freshman, said he is happy his unspent J Street money will not disappear, but he is still disappointed with Sodexho.
“(Rollover) is not going to make me go to J Street more, but it’s better than losing my money,” Franks said. “(Sodexho) needs to lower the mandatory spending money. Seven hundred dollars is a ridiculous amount of money when the food sucks.”
This article appeared in the April 10, 2008 issue of the Hatchet.