President Alex Cassell discussed food service changes for the following year during his executive remarks in Tuesday’s Student Government Association meeting.
According to Cassell, ETSU has been ranked the third worst school in the U.S. when it comes to dining services, but the university plans to change that soon with all of the information it has gathered.
“We started with a focus group of students and faculty members, and then it grew into the university hiring a group that specializes in university dining,” Cassell said.
The internationally renowned business, Porter Cow, came to ETSU to help the university with its food selections and recommendations.
According to Cassell, Porter Cow has made positive impacts on dining services for other universities.
“They pretty much told us that we need more options and more hours,” Cassell said. “They suggested we do an any time you want to eat meal plan and do as many swipes on your card as you want.”
No increase will be applied to student fees or meal plan prices. However, it will be mandatory for all incoming freshmen to purchase some form of a meal plan.
“The average cost would be $15 a day, but you will have more extensive and cheaper options,” Cassell said.
As part of the university’s upcoming changes to dining services, its food service contract with Aramark was terminated.
“Maybe we have had issues with Aramark, but we as a school have not supplied them with the right amount of money to really make them as good as they could potentially be,” Cassell said.
Among other Tennessee Board of Regents schools, ETSU is the only school that does not currently have a mandatory meal plan policy in place.
President Pro-Tempore Brandon Johnson mentioned that a former SGA president wrote legislation for changes in food services, but the senate gave an overwhelming vote against the idea.
“If this would have been done back then, I feel like a lot would have changed,” Johnson said.
Cassell said he was very impressed with the organization and felt like it would bring satisfaction back to dining services at ETSU.
“With the Culp renovations going on and the implementation of this new service plan,” Cassell said, “we can completely change the culture of food on our campus.”