Dorm food services, Union stores to merge

Katie Sonderman

ISU students can soon use their residence hall meal plans to buy food nearly everywhere on campus.

A merger is in the works between the residence hall dining service and Campus Dining Services and various retail operations of the Memorial Union, said Teresa Branch, assistant vice president for Student Affairs. A search is on for a new director to head the combined services.

Branch said the merger, which is anticipated to take place July 1, will create more flexibility and choice for students, faculty and staff.

The Union will also benefit from the merger, said Kathy Svec, marketing coordinator for the Union, because more students will eat there.

“A bigger pool of customers will be able to uses the resources provided at the Memorial Union,” she said.

Other aspects of Campus Dining Services, such as the Dog Wagon and caf‚s in the Colleges of Design and Veterinary Medicine, are also among the places students can use their meal plans, Svec said.

Locations for new caf‚s are being considered in order to accommodate all aspects of the university, she said.

“We have gotten several requests from the northern edge of campus, including Kildee and Lagomarcino,” Svec said.

Vending machines are the only option available in this area of the university.

“When you are more in the mood for hot food and a place to sit, a vending machine leaves a little to be desired,” Svec said.

She said the requests will be looked at in-depth once the merger takes place.

The changes are taking place in conjunction with a national search for a new director for ISU Campus Dining Services. The position, which was left open when Stewart Burger, former associate director, became coordinator for special events in the president’s office last year.

It is filled by Bill Young, associate director of food service for the Memorial Union; and Carol Petersen, manager of food service for the residence halls; and Karen Larson, manager of food service for the residence halls.

Branch said Campus Dining is looking for a director with at least eight years of multi-unit food service operation and a bachelor’s degree in hotel, restaurant and institutional management; food service management; administrative dietetics; or business administration with an emphasis in food service management.

She said the search, which began in August, is being run by the executive search firm Tyler and Co. Branch and a committee with representatives from the Department of Residence; Memorial Union; business and finance; athletic department; conference services; hotel, restaurant and institution management; and the Gateway Center Hotel are also involved.

Branch said the search firm will present a list of finalists to the search committee today, and if the search is successful, the new director will be announced in December or January.

“The director will have overall administrative responsibility for the university’s merged dining service activities, which serves 3.2 million meals per year to 27,800 students and 6,000 staff and faculty plus university guests,” Branch said.

She said the director will also be responsible for operating an annual $18 million budget plus the budgetary and financial management, facilities maintenance, personnel, programmatic and service development, and educational and nutritional programming of the merged food services.