The Dining Services Advisory Committee (DSAC) received a 5 percent increase in its budget for next year and it is looking to improve both the food students eat and dining options.
A big change will include the addition of to-go containers available for students to use at every meal. The to-go containers are meant to give students the option to have a portioned amount of food which they can eat anywhere.
Currently, the only place students can get a meal like this is by getting what is called a transfer meal from Pete’s Creek in the University Center.
“We’re planning to have more prepared food, like food from a transfer but with better quality,” said Anthony Sumnicht, chair of DSAC.
Sumnicht added that all meals in Riverside Commons, in the UC, will have the to-go option available. He said this solves the problem of UW-River Falls not having any way for students to get breakfast on the go while using their meal plan.
“I think that this would be a great alternative to the transfers and retail dining. It would add more variety for students,” said UWRF sophomore Morgan Randall. “This might even be more convenient than bringing your own food everyday.”
Currently, 2,778 students are on a meal plan and 78 percent of those students live on campus, according to Dining Services.
In addition, students would not be able to bring their to-go containers into the dining area. If a student is seen with a to-go container in the dining area they will be given a warning. If they are caught again, they will not be able to use the to-go containers for the rest of the semester.
“We’re a cafeteria, not a grocery store for students,” said Sumnicht.
To prevent students from stealing the to-go containers, they will only be able to have one at a time. That data will be kept track of on the student’s ID card. To get a new to-go container a student must return the container they have to a specific location and get their card swiped by an employee. Only then can they get a new one to use.
Randall said that having the to-go containers will benefit everyone eating in Riverside Commons, not just those who utilize the to-go containers.
“I think that one of the disadvantages of Riverside is the time it takes to sit down and eat a meal. There are also issues with not having adequate seating for everyone. If people could take their food to go, this could possibly eliminate some of that problem,” Randall said.
In addition to the 5 percent budget increase, DSAC is looking at other ways to save money to put toward these new additions as well.
One of those ideas is to close Riverside Commons from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. Another is to allow students to fill up a water bottle to lower the use of cups and bottles water on campus.
Each student living on campus receives a reusable water bottle at the beginning of the year.
However, junior Danny Lee is not going to get back on a meal plan because of these new changes.
“I like buying and making my own food. The meal plan doesn’t interest me whatsoever,” Lee said.
Sumnicht also said that dining services is looking to bring in name brand venues for retail dining.
One such venue he mentioned was Erbert & Gerbert’s Sandwich Shop, but he stressed that this was not finalized yet.
Sumnicht said that the plans to bring a name brand venue into retail dining have not been finalized, but should be before the 2013 fall semester.