Students should express when SA actions fulfill needs
Hannah Todd is the Student Association External Vice President and a Wiess College junior
While the Student Association exists to hear student needs and take action to fulfill them, students in turn need to clearly express feedback when these changes based on student need are made. A lack of this feedback is threatening the continuation of recent changes to our meal plan.
Years ago, the serveries stopped providing Saturday dinner to get students out of the library, get their heads out of their books and send them to explore Houston and find dinner. Today, the inaccessibility of off-campus dinner options overshadows this purpose. Student Association President Griffin Thomas’ Student Access and Success Report mentions Saturday dinner with friends as an inaccessible opportunity due to the financial cost.
In response to that report and surveys at the university and college levels, I worked with Housing and Dining to implement a more flexible and accessible meal plan which includes later dinner hours, earlier breakfast times and Saturday night dinner. Even though students seemed to want all these changes, some are underutilized. Early breakfast and late dinner have a steady but small usership, while Saturday dinner is barely used. Last week, only five students went to Saturday dinner.
Reintroducing Saturday dinner seemed a logical step for a university whose student body has grown by about 1,000 in the past 12 years with students of varying needs and backgrounds. Maybe you wanted to avoid going off campus for food the weekend before a big exam, or wanted a more affordable alternative to eating off campus. Student survey data, conversations with peers and discussions with administrators also indicated students liked the idea of Saturday dinner.
However, the execution did not fit the idea. Students complain that, for the cost in Tetra of Saturday dinner, they may as well eat off campus. Others do not even know this option exists. These responses confuse Housing and Dining because they are trying to meet a student need that exists on paper but apparently not in practice. Although a culture shift may make Saturday dinner normal one day, it currently does not seem used enough so it may be removed as an alternative option.
I am asking you all to help the SA do our job and meet your needs. Tell us what you want through constructive feedback (you can reach me at email@example.com) and attendance. Having Saturday dinner on campus does not mean you will never eat off campus again. However, I think it could be time for us to have a choice. If you agree, check out Seibel Servery from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday nights through the end of the semester.
More from The Rice Thresher
Despite the structural barriers facing many young people and people of color, often in tandem, we are ready to show up to the polls and make an impact on our communities this November... If you are a young Houstonian, join the movement to change the narrative that we are civically apathetic: get informed, register to vote, go to the polls and volunteer with local nonprofits or campaigns.
Filled with elaborate dance routines, emotional poetry and comedy skits that elicit roars of laughter, Africayé never ceases to catch the eye of students across campus. At the helm of the organization behind this lively cultural event this year is Eden Desta, current president of the Rice African Student Association.
What really is democracy? What does it mean to be a democracy and what does it entail? The Moody Center for the Arts’s new fall exhibition, “States of Mind: Art and American Democracy,” seeks to answer these questions, although perhaps not in the way you might imagine. Moody’s newest exhibit, organized by Associate Curator Ylinka Barotto, introduces new perspectives and angles from artists telling their own stories in their own ways, particularly focusing on national issues affecting Texas. Its goal is to drive new thoughts and deeper revelations in viewers. Art, after all, is not about giving direct answers, but coming to your own.