Meeting Minutes — May 9, 2011 Posted on May 20th, 2011 by

Present: Jim Dontje, Chris Hall, Lisa Heldke, Steve Kjellgren, Joe Lencioni,  Mike Stehlik, Sarah Hund

Guests: Becca Hohag, Christine Tenhoff

  1. D.S. Director’s report: Steve welcomed the group, but had to leave to conduct an interview of a job candidate.
  2. Guest presentations
    1. Christine Tenhoff: Junior biology major Tenhoff came to talk with us about the topic of her Public Discourse project, cultivating an awareness of genetically modified foods. She presented the group with some information about the prevalence of GMO ingredients. The group discussed various ways to highlight and educate Dining Service patrons about how to make choices with an awareness of GMO ingredients, recognizing that their ubiquity would make labeling impracticable. Christine has agreed to join the committee to continue exploring this issue.
    2. Becca Hohag: Hohag is exploring the creation of a “community engagement” section on the Gustavus webpage, of which local foods initiatives would be one segment. The group offered various suggestions and ideas for information to include, as well as offering encouragement and enthusiasm for the program. Joe Lencioni noted that content is selected for inclusion on the Gustavus homepage partly on the basis of the quality of that content. If the community engagement page were to become robust, attractive and full of important information, it would likely find a home there.
  3. Reports from representatives:
    1. Athletics: Mike Stehlik reported that Health 101, a monthly newsletter, has gone live. Kari Eckhart is the coordinator for the newsletter, which will include some previously-produced content, as well as content from Gustavus. The Dining Service could have a regular segment in the newsletter. [After-meeting note: the newsletter includes information about the beverage contract, including links to youtube to the videos.]
    2. Health Service: No report
    3. Johnson Center: Jim reported that the garden is getting planted, despite the rain! This year’s initiative has involved more intensive planning than ever. A local foods class, which had the garden as one focal point, is coming to a successful end. Synergies with local growers are emerging and developing, spurred by this class as well as by a dinner and conversation that was held in conjunction with the visit by Fred Kirschenmann. The garden project struggles with an ongoing tension between a student desire to be entirely student-run and “do their own thing,” and the nitty-gritty realities of trying to grow food that can be sold, e.g. to Dining Service.
    4. PAs: Chris is in the process of passing the torch to Sarah Hund, who has several projects in mind. She will be continuing a project begun some years ago by Sam Grace, a “recipe book” for cooking in the Dining Service. She’s also interested in exploring the possibility of switching the delivery system for products such as peanut butter and yogurt, to methods that use less packaging.
  4. Next year initiatives: The group discussed the beverage contract that will be coming up next year. Lisa reported that Steve had received a couple firm proposals from groups (classes) that will be pursuing research in conjunction with the project. The KC floated some other, bold ideas, about the contract, including:
    1. “Going rogue”: not having a contract, purchasing our own equipment and being able to control how available the beverages are.
    2. Conducting a survey that measures beverage consumption against account balances. (There is a perception, at least, that folks who run out of money are those who purchase the most fountain drinks.)
    3. Conducting a survey of students, to find out their preferences about beverages
    4. Creating a method for students to access their dining service profile(this would be useful for reasons above and beyond the beverage issue.)
    5. What sort of “buzz” would Gustavus create, if as a community, it were to decide to drop its beverage contract?

Lisa encouraged students to prod representative groups to consider doing some creative research; student desires are a very important driver of what the Dining Service offers, and if, for instance, it were to be revealed that a majority of students would prefer that soft drinks have a far lower profile in the servery, or in dormitories, or elsewhere on campus, that desire would be very relevant indeed. But such a reduction will not be initiated administratively; the impetus needs to come from students.

Meeting adjourned.


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