BSC REPORT: Food for Thought?

By Beth Hanson

Beloit Student Congress met for the last time of the fall 2010 semester on Monday, Dec. 6 to discuss food with Chef Peter Kraemer, director of food service.

Before discussing food, Alicia Halvensleben ’11 brought a potential bandwidth update to BSC’s attention. Halvensleben said, “The school is likely going to commit to increasing bandwidth.” If this is approved by BSC next semester, it will become an annual increase.

BSC President Jeb Bleckley ‘11 transitioned to the food forum with Kraemer. Bleckley said, “People complaining about food service do not know the financial situation [that] food service is in.”

“Meal plans are priced according to what is known as a missed meal factor,” Kraemer said. “Missing meals is not my responsibility.”

Kraemer explained that the cost for the meal plan is not the same as the proportion of money that food service actually gets, which is 52 percent or $8.25 per person per day.  Of the 52 percent that food service receives, 42 percent goes to payroll and benefits and 40 percent goes to food.

The remaining 48 percent of what is paid for the meal plan goes to a number of general fund places, primarily financial aid.  Kraemer said that this split is common among schools.  Madeline Kramer ’12 suggested that an economical reason for financial aid receiving meal plan funds is to foster a more diverse environment.

Kraemer said, “Most colleges or universities, if you live on campus, you have a meal plan.”  At Beloit, you can go off the meal plan after six semesters.

Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life John Winkelmann said, “We are a residential liberal arts college.  People are expected to eat, play, work and study here.”  Winkelmann also mentioned that there are schools in the Associated Colleges of the Midwest that require eight semesters on the meal plan.

Commons runs on a six-week cycle.  Kraemer said students with any suggestions should bring him ideas.

Sunday dinner is a topic that has been brought up to food service.  Kraemer said, “Every time the thought of [having] Sunday dinner comes up, it is shut down by students.  There are probably more colleges that don’t do a Sunday dinner than that do.”

Food service is currently considering a number of issues.  They are working on putting the D.K.’s special on the menu.  There are also a couple of proposals about Java Joint.  Kraemer said that one is to open it again at 7 p.m. when D.K.’s closes.  The other is to keep it open all day.

There is also a proposal for Commons to add another cook in order to run the fresco grill three more times a week.   Kraemer said, “It’s a big change when you make a change [in food service].”

BSC members asked questions about the potential for students running parts of food service.  Kraemer said, “People aren’t showing up for shifts as it is.  It’s just that time of year.”  He also said, “You’re here to be students and that’s going to take precedence over any sort of job you have.”

BSC will reconvene in January.




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