On April 16, the Student Government Organization (SGO) invited Vice President for Finance Greg Brown and Executive Director for Auxiliary Services Anthony Coschignano to their senate meeting to discuss the future of Swarthmore dining.
Brown began by praising the new meal plan that was introduced in the 2016/17 academic year, which allowed Swarthmore students to spend meal points in the Ville. He noted that the Ville generated $750,000 of business as a result of the new plan.
“It’s a really good thing for downtown redevelopment […] it changed the feel of the Ville and I think that’s a good thing,” Brown said.
Brown also clarified some rumors regarding meal plans for New PPR residents. He stated that New PPR residents will be allowed to use all their meal plan points in the Ville, while previously students could only spend a portion of their points off-campus.
Bennett Parrish ‘18 questioned why only New PPR residents could access this plan. Brown cited financial concerns for Sharples and New PPR’s unique apartment-style setting.
“In order to have the money to staff Sharples, we need to have a guaranteed amount of money coming in,” Brown said.
Brown also brought up the topic of possibly introducing more Asian dining options, after realizing that Bamboo Bistro was one of the most popular Ville options among Swarthmore students. Sushi at the Swarthmore Co-op has also proved popular.
The discussion eventually segued to each SGO member expressing their personal dining preferences and problems.
Cole Graham ‘17, a vegetarian, noted the lack of available vegetarian options as well as the long lines for Margaret Kuo lunches in the Science Center. He suggested the possibility of opening two cash registers.
“Homestyle tofu, which is the best vegetarian option, is always reserved,” Graham said.
The challenge of overcrowding seems to be difficult. Coschignano explained that between 12pm and 1pm, over 500 students go to Sharples. Brown further noted that Sharples was built for a college size of 900 students.
Co-President Ben Roebuck ‘17 suggested introducing avocado.
“If I hear one thing about one food or ingredient we could get, avocado is one of them,” Roebuck said.
He also expressed delight at the WowButter and Jelly sandwich.
But Chair of Environmental Impact Tiffany Yu ‘18 noted that “there are really specific sandwiches that people want.” Such high demand has caused these sandwiches to quickly run out.
Graham further expressed concern about the current Sharples menu. He cited the “thyme lemon tofu” dish as an illustration that Sharples was “trying way too hard to be creative.”