Meeting Minutes – November 20, 2007 Posted on November 20th, 2007 by

Next Meeting: We had none scheduled, but I propose that we meet Monday, December 10 at 3:30. (Try PDR.)

Present: Jackie Alvarez, Amy Fude, Lisa Heldke, Bruce Johnson, Cindy Johnson Groh, Steve Kjellgren

  1. Internship
    • We have one application to date; the committee couldn’t review it because it had just been submitted that morning, and was in an unreadable format. The app comes from Colin Gettle. Cindy was going to check with her potential applicant, Stephanie Lewis.
    • Prompted by a suggestion from Jackie, the committee discussed the possibility of having one “official” intern, and one additional student who isn’t receiving internship credit but is perhaps being paid a stipend, or is receiving research credit. This student could be a first year or sophomore.
    • Steve has one potential student (sara Scholin, a first year with an interest in allergy issues), and Lisa has another (Drew Yackel-Juleen, a sophomore with an agriculture background). These two are likely future interns, as well.
    • Cindy noted that Stephanie might like to work on this basis also, because she is a PA, and this could perhaps be her PA project.
    • Cindy will investigate the possibility that Colin and Stephanie might work together next spring. She will contact Jim, Steve, and any other members of the committee who’d like to be involved in this next stage. If necessary, they will dip into this layer of sophomore and first year students.
  2. To-Go Box/Dining Room Survey
    • Steve brought the results of the mini survey that the PAs conducted, led by Judy Douglas. The results were interesting enough that the committee decided to use Survey Monkey to survey the entire campus. [Lisa has since received the go-ahead from Ken Westphal and has submitted the survey to the IRB for its approval. At that point, she will monkey it over to someone else for transferring to the proper format!]
    • If you would like to see these PA results, contact Steve or Judy for a copy.
  3. Allergen Survey
    • Steve reported that a student with serious allergy concerns has requested a labeling system for foods in the Marketplace. In order to determine the appropriate format for that system (broad dissemination or dissemination to a small group who need the information?), Steve has worked with the student, Sara Scholin, and nutritionist George Elliott, to design a survey to be distributed to the campus, to identify food allergies on campus. It will be distributed shortly.
  4. Marketing and Social Responsibility
    • Steve reported on the corporate statements he had identified. He explained the structure of Coca-Cola (which is, effectively, two companies), and also described their lengthy social responsibility statement. His conclusion, after reading the statements of the major companies with which the Dining Service does business, is that no statement reveals practices that should make us want to discontinue our contracts immediately. Steve will send the committee links to these websites.
    • Lisa reported on her discussion with Karen Zins in the Bookmark, about the way in which that store moved to no-sweat clothing. The Bookmark was able to work in response to national organizations working on this issue, and to adopt their criteria for purchasing clothing that is “certified” free of sweatshop labor.
    • [Note: the afternoon of the 20th, Lisa met with Ken Westphal to learn about the college’s procedure for making ethical decisions involving investment, etc. This is what she learned:
    • The college has two funds, one of which is the socially responsible fund. Donors may contribute to either one. This split came as a result of the South Africa campaign of two decades ago.
    • The college is primarily invested in mutual funds. Because these are managed by others, because we are small and can’t wield a lot of clout, we are pretty much at the mercy of the mutual fund companies with respect to what we’re invested in. There is not, for instance, a “Sudan free” fund, although he knows that some companies in which we’re invested have been pressured to get rid of their interests in Sudan.
    • With respect to the matter of whether the college has a charter, or set of principles, Ken observed that, while he can point to actions the college has taken over the years, we do not make those decisions on the basis of a set of standards. Instead, he and the manager in question (e.g. Steve) have a discussion about the decision, and then he typically will pass it by the Administrative Council.
    • He asked if we were aware if there is such a screen used by other institutions, and I said we’d investigate the question. He noted that schools tend to be reactive on these issues, and it would be nice to be able to be acting FROM a set of principles, recognizing always that choices are more complicated than a simple application of moral laws. ]
  5. “Webinar” on Sustainable Dining
    • Steve reported that 18 people attended, including one entire class.
    • The “net” is that Gustavus is right behind those that are front runners in this work. We are doing good things, and are making sound choices.
    • Lisa noted that because of our religious affiliation, we are able to make choices on the basis of things like business practices, which state-run institutions cannot choose to do as easily.
    • Steve observed that he hopes that, with the help of the interns, we will have an “Everything you want to know about the Dining Service” brochure by the end of spring semester.
  6. Other
    • Amy asked the committee’s advice about the placement of additional hand sanitizer stations, in response to a request from Safety and Security.
    • Lisa invited people to think about January Term activities that might bring people into the Dining Room to share meals.
  7. Future Discussions or Projects
    • Develop a list of strategies, geared to different audiences and designed to bring people into the Dining Room to eat and talk with others.
    • Hosting some kind of campus-wide forum about social responsibility and consuming? (Following up on Hank’s request.) This may be beyond the purview of this committee narrowly conceived, but we might be able to be a convener.
    • Depression and diet: Jackie would like to talk with the committee about a more holistic approach to depression that would include diet and exercise in addition to, or instead of, drugs and talk therapy. Tentatively scheduled for FEBRUARY.
    • College garden: Ken asked if the committee would explore ways to jump start the idea of a college garden again. These have started and stalled several times.

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