IRHA discusses ISU Dining changes, healthier meal options

Caitlin Deaver

The Inter-Residence Hall Association discussed changes to ISU Dining for the 2014-15 school year at its first meeting on Sept. 11.

Nancy Keller, director of campus dining services, presented updates on and changes to the 21 dining operations on campus, as well as how administrators are working to include healthier dining options for students.

Changes to Dining Centers

Union Drive Marketplace extended its hours until 8 p.m. from Sunday to Saturday and is now accepting credit cards. ISU Dining is also bringing a “Simple Plate” program — a new concept of healthy dining operations — to dining centers in January 2015.

Conversations also extended its hours from 7 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday for meal bundles.

“What we found was that 1,200 people were going to the C-store at about 7 p.m. at East Side Market,” Keller said. “We wanted to provide you with something better than just going to a C-store.”

Storms introduced new Coca-Cola Freestyle drink machines, which serves more than 100 flavors, as well as iced coffee as a new beverage option. Seasons is also serving iced coffee and is now accepting credit cards.

Student Board and Food Committee

Keller also urged students and student leaders to attend weekly food committee meetings, where students and student leaders can offer feedback on what they want to see in campus dining operations.

“I think we need more student input,” Keller said. “The last food committee meeting had just three people, so three people could be deciding what goes in there and could be deciding what your meal plan rate proposal is. They help guide me, so they’re a powerful group.”

Students can also speak with their IRHA representatives with any concerns or suggestions.

Friley Residence Hall Dining Renovation

Keller also had updates on Windows — the new food court in Friley Hall, which has permission to be planned — and will present the concepts to the Board of Regents next month.

“When we talked to students last year, they really wanted to see the ability to have other facilities that they could go to [in Friley],” Keller said.

She said there’d be three to four unspecified vendors inside the cafeteria if approved. One possible vendor will be presenting at the food committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 18 at Linden Residence Hall. Students are encouraged to attend.

A Healthy Initiative

ISU officials like Tom Hill, senior vice president for student affairs, have been participating in the #ISUhealthyselfie challenge to motivate students to take a selfie with a healthy food item they want to see incorporated into ISU Dining.

“What we’re trying to do is find out what you consider healthy,” Keller said. “We want to know what’s going on out there, so it would really help us.”

ISU Dining has also been collaborating with the Student Organic Farm, an ISU student organization that manages farmland on campus. Basil and squash grown in the gardens are used by ISU Dining to make food healthier.