Four weeks into the fall semester, the student-run Dining Services Commission has yet to hold a meeting and has no members except for its chairperson.
The DSC is meant to advocate for on-campus dining – traditionally an area that receives a lot of complaints from the student body – and works directly with University officials and with representatives from catering company Sodexo. It was marred by ineffectiveness last year when former chair Kim Neu resigned in December and was never replaced.
During Neu’s tenure she made only minor changes to GW dining, including installing a microwave in J Street.
“We’re still trying to get the word out,” Ben Leighton, this year’s chairperson, said. “It didn’t really do so well last year.”
Leighton attributed the lack of interest to the weaknesses of last year’s DSC.
“There just wasn’t a clear purpose or very much leadership,” he said. “It just kind of died out.”
Leighton said he hopes this year will be different. Already, the Student Association took action last semester and moved the commission out from under their purview to charge of the Marvin Center Governing Board.
“We’re trying to make it stronger. We’re trying to make changes so on campus dining will be better,” Leighton said.
Leighton and members of the Student Association worked with the University over the summer to discuss catering options at West Hall on the Mount Vernon Campus.
The University ultimately announced Sodexo would be given an exclusive contract at the new dining hall for this year. Leighton said the DSC has also pushed for improvements at J Street, asking for several different lunch and dinner options.
“That’s something we’ve pushed and they’ve done,” Leighton said of getting improved lunch and dinner options. “We’ve taken care of that over the summer.” Despite some of the progress made over the summer, the commission remains stalled while waiting for students to fill the commission.
Leighton said he hopes to begin holding regular meetings at the end of September and wants to continue them twice a month.
“We’re working on getting the word out,” he said. “If you want to make change, we’re happy to have you.”