GUSA Creates Food Committee
Published: Friday, February 1, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 4, 2013 14:02
With the goal of centralizing their work with students and O’Donovan Hall workers concerning food service and quality, the GUSA senate passed an amendment Jan. 20 to establish the Subcommittee on Food Service.
“The quality of food service is a huge concern just because it really affects the students’ daily lives at Georgetown,” said Nolan DiConti (COL ’15), a GUSA senator and subcommittee co-chair. “We just want to know and let our constituents know that we’re here to help and here to voice students’ ideas and concerns.”
Although GUSA already operates an Executive Committee on Food Service, Subcommittee Co-Chair Sam Greco (SFS ’15) said that the new joint committee has been formed because the older executive committee has stalled.
“That committee doesn’t have the structure it needs and hasn’t been particularly effective in getting anything done,” Greco said.
“It’s not that the executive branch isn’t doing anything,” he said. “It’s just that they maybe aren’t living up to their fullest potential.”
“It was necessary to take the matters into our own hands,” Greco added. “We couldn’t wait for somebody else to take action.”
The subcommittee will consider student criticism of Leo’s and investigate possible solutions to these problems.
The subcommittee currently consists of DiConti and Greco, along with GUSA Senator and Vice Chair Abby Cooner (SFS ’16), among other GUSA members. The group will soon accept applications from students outside of GUSA.
Because many freshmen campaigned for the GUSA senate on the platform of improving food services, Cooner anticipates great interest in the group from students.
“It will be good to try to not just draw out of the GUSA community but also the student body as a whole,” Cooner said. “That way, other people can get involved and get their voices heard and help bring about change.”
Although the subcommittee has not yet taken any official action, Greco has already met with Operations Director for Dining Services Rob Tobin and Food and Beverage Director Ted Lipansky concerning the subcommittee’s plans.
He has also begun working with Marketing Manager Kendra Boyer on “Table Touches,” a program in which Boyer and a member of the subcommittee will approach students at Leo’s to garner feedback.
“We hope to be more effective by having both a student and administrator present,” Greco said.
According to Greco, the subcommittee plans to focus on increasing the number of options available at Leo’s, alleviating lines during periods of high traffic and conducting student surveys.
Although Leo’s does conduct student surveys, these results are not disclosed to GUSA.
“The amount of feedback that they might be hearing might be swept under the rug,” DiConti said.
Not all students, however, believe that the survey will help initiate progress.
“I don’t think students will be motivated enough to participate in the survey,” said Esther Sohn (SFS ’16), a member of GUSA’s Freshmen Executive Outreach Committee.
Members of the subcommittee will bring survey results both to representatives of Aramark, the company that operates Leo’s, and Georgetown administrators.
“It’s my hope that we, as a committee, can bring concrete comments to Leo’s and from there hammer things out, not just come in with nothing,” Greco said.
Some progress, including improvements to the upstairs stir-fry and salad bar stations, has been made since the GUSA senate passed a resolution to improve the quality of Georgetown’s food service Nov. 27. Greco and DiConti hope that this subcommittee will expand upon that progress.
For Cooner, the biggest challenge facing the subcommittee will be collaboration with Aramark. But the subcommittee plans to investigate ways to incentivize upperclassmen to purchase meal plans in the hopes of encouraging Aramark to improve food quality.
“Aramark really does care and wants to produce an excellent product, and if we work with them, I have high hopes that we’ll make progress,” Greco said.