Editorial: Dining candidates must set reasonable goals

Editorial Board

After nearly 10 months of functioning without a director, ISU Dining has finally dug in to seriously look for someone to fill the vital position. The top four finalists, Mohamed Ali, John Gaughan, Gayle Hanson and Amanda Steiner, were selected by an eight-person committee that included two students.

While it’s a positive move to include students on the selection board, there are still holes in the process and huge potential for candidates to bite off more than they can chew.

As we have seen in the selecting of the new director for the Thielen Student Health Center, voluntary student participation in the discussion has been rather dismal. While candidates for the Thielen position were presenting their ideas to students, the attendance to any forum was in the single digits.

The lack of student interest is another issue, but for now, the concern lies with providing ideas that are attainable and sensible to alleviate the current issues ISU Dining is facing, mainly overcrowding.

Steiner, the first candidate to visit campus, has been one of two to present at an open forum. Some of her plans included changing the current dining structure such as a stronger focus around vegetarianism, veganism and other health trends, as well as a food delivery option.

Understanding the number of students who actually do follow a vegan or vegetarian diet would be a huge part of putting that suggestion into action.

Hanson, the second to visit campus, suggested more flexible menu and food availability options, including food trucks and mobile and online dining services.

The idea of a delivery service sounds great on paper, but in terms of execution, could be a bit overwhelming for a new director right away.

Students would more than likely get on board, for convenience reasons. It could have the potential to alleviate the congestion students experience in dining locations, and students could have lunch or dinner delivered to their residence.

But where would that money come from? Who would fill those jobs as delivery people? Dining already has a pretty hefty turnaround in student workers. Brittney Rutherford, program coordinator for ISU Dining, reports a 37 percent turnover rate in student dining jobs, which means there might be a struggle to fill delivery positions.

As student’s ourselves, the first issue the ISD Editorial board feels that the new director should try to tackle would be the overcrowding in the dining centers, but through reasonable channels, such as food trucks or more carryout options, such as Clyde’s.

The idea of wanting to make big advancements when it comes to dining is a noble one, but the changes need to address immediate issues.