Student Council announces Student Dining Advisory Board

Members also prepare for Student Senate, consider transfer student representation

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Matthew Smythe and Scott Aebersold, the University Dining director and marketing director, respectively, announced the partnership and discussed their goals for innovating the dining program, partnering with the local community and soliciting student feedback. 

Thomas Roades | Cavalier Daily

Student Council and University Dining representatives announced a Student Dining Advisory Board at Student Council’s general body meeting Tuesday.

Matthew Smythe and Scott Aebersold, the University Dining director and marketing director, respectively, announced the partnership and discussed their goals for innovating the dining program, partnering with the local community and soliciting student feedback. The council will also facilitate collaboration between University Dining and the Student Council. 

“A lot of where we’re going is all about that student experience,” Aebersold told the council. “It’s really built off two things: student engagement and promotion, letting people know what dining has to offer.” 

He specifically proposed University Dining partnering with more student events on Grounds. Students on the board will also have the opportunity shape University Dining’s other goals of dining innovations and sustainable community partnerships with students.

Aebersold mentioned that student feedback has already shaped many dining innovations, such as Tapingo mobile ordering and upgrades in Runk Dining Hall. 

“The [Runk] logo itself was made from feedback from [Resident Advisors] and student orientation leaders,” Aebersold said. 

Aebersold said the University was one of the first schools in the country to get three restaurants green-certified, and that all dining hall to-go boxes are compostable, though many students throw them away when they take food to eat outside. 

Katie Brandon, a fourth-year Batten student and Student Council director of University relations, asked the Dining representatives about student involvement in dining contracts. 

“I know the dining contracts are negotiated for years in advance, is there any way students could be more involved in that?” Brandon asked. 

The University Dining representatives responded that the next contract negotiation would be in 2034, but Aebersold said the Student Dining Advisory Board is a first step toward increased student involvement.

During the public comment period and executive board announcements, several students brought up the upcoming meeting of the Student Senate. Alex Cintron, a third-year College student and Student Council vice president for administration, introduced the idea of the Senate for members who had not heard of it. The upcoming session will be Tuesday, Sept. 19.  

“The Student Senate is a gathering of student leaders and representatives from organizations on Grounds,” he said. “They come together to discuss issues of the day.” 

He went on to say Bryanna Miller, a fourth-year College student and the student member of the Board of Visitors, will be speaking at the Senate meeting, along with Wes Gobar, a fourth-year College student and Black Student Alliance president.

“Wes Gobar will present ... on the BSA demands and other developments that his organization has been successful with,” Cintron said. 

Sarah Kenny, a fourth-year College student and Student Council President, also urged members to attend the Senate. 

“Emily Lodge, president before me, created Student Senate to address the kind of insufficiencies in our student organizations [and] to bring voices from the students — student collective — into the room,” she said. 

During the legislative session, representatives considered a bill to amend the Student Council constitution to change the number of transfer representatives and the way in which transfer representatives are elected.

David Birkenthal, a fourth-year College student and chair of the Student Council Representative Body, introduced the bill. 

“Constitutional amendments can be scary and daunting, but it’s important to look at how it works now and why it should change,” he said.

As the constitution stands currently, only students who transfer to the University in the fall are able to run for a transfer representative seat. 

“Anybody who’s a transfer in the spring or the fall can now run for that seat,” Birkenthal said. “There will be two at-large transfers, so they don’t have to be people who just transferred here. Right now, the spring transfers aren’t represented at all.”

According to Student Council policy, any amendments to bylaws must be tabled for one week before they’re taken to a vote. Representatives unanimously voted to table FB17-07 for consideration at next week’s meeting. 

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