Regular Indian cuisine and other dining changes discussed at biweekly Food Advisory Board meeting

By: 
Ethan Castro
Date: 
Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

On the afternoon of Friday, February 3 in the Pritzker Club, representatives from the Student Government Association (SGA), Residence Hall Association (RHA), Office of Campus Life (OCL), and Office of Residence and Greek Life (RGL) met with Illinois Tech Dining Services in another installment of Food Advisory Board (FAB). These biweekly meetings are designed to serve as an open platform for the student body to air out any concerns they have about the quality and options of the university’s dining options.

This specific meeting began with a recap of topics brought forward at the previous February 17 meeting. The first such agenda item was the expansion of Indian cuisine options in The Commons. From that week onward, Tuesdays and Thursdays in The Commons would see the wok station in the north pod feature Indian selections. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays will continue to feature other Asian selections at the wok station. This decision seems to at have been inspired by positive student feedback. The community whiteboard in The Commons is oftentimes adorned with praise over Indian cuisine selections, when they are available. In a similar manner, the addition of more exotic spices alongside traditional condiments in The Commons was also met with student support. Although many recipes in The Commons are oftentimes tame in terms of using special spices or other seasonings, the addition of these offerings as side complements now allows students to enjoy these varied flavors of their own accord.

Keeping with the theme of expanding options based on student feedback, it is also to be noted that The Commons is ever expanding its core selections across its multiple sectors. For example, the rotation of specialty pizzas at the southern sector of the venue will continue in March with selections of “mindful” pizzas to keep in line with March’s designation as National Nutrition Month. Right next door, the grill section in The Commons will also see its core selection expanded so that twice a week, the zone will provide a special (such as chicken fajitas or a cheesesteak sandwich) instead of the usual assortment of cheeseburgers and chicken sandwiches. On a smaller but still just as important scale, halal options are now available in The Commons during the weekend meal periods. Students will be able to grab a halal entrée from the Residential Express coolers near the entrance to The Commons and bring it into the main dining area on the weekends. This change came directly from feedback during an FAB meeting that halal diets were not properly accommodated during the weekends.

In addition to changes applying specifically to The Commons, Center Court’s addition of Pepsi products “exceeded expectations” of General Manager Chris Ferenc. Astute students have noted the two additional coolers in Center Court stocked with Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and other related soft drinks. Operations Manager Mark Janickovic also followed up with previous FAB feedback about knowledge of vegetarian and vegan options in The Bog. Janickovic shared that Executive Chef Thomas Winklebleck held refresh training sessions with the staff of The Bog to increase menu knowledge among the location’s employees. In addition, Winklebleck followed up on the recipes and procedures in place for ensuring halal entrees in The Commons were being adhered to and noted ten positive comments from students since the completion of this administrative refresh.

Moving on to new topics for the board to consider, it was proposed by RHA that The Commons’ express meal lanes could open at 11 a.m. to better accommodate students with 11:25 a.m. classes. After a bit of logistical discussion, Ferenc established that this policy could begin within the coming weeks. Students can thus look forward to expanded hours for Residential Express meals from The Commons soon.

One final note of discussion from this most recent FAB was a round of praise for an employee in The Commons named Lillie. Oftentimes working the sandwich station, Lillie was noted by many RHA Floor Representatives and Executive Board members to always be positive and happy to serve.

Any student with feedback that they want to see brought up at the next FAB meeting on March 24 from 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. in the Pritzker Club is invited to either attend themselves or email RHA at rha@iit.edu with their input.