Kitchen Cabinet minutes September 2012 Posted on September 17th, 2012 by

Kitchen Cabinet

September 17, 2012


Present: Mark Hanson, Margo Druschel, Semyon Rozin(PA), Rebecca Hare(Greens), Erin Traxler(Student Senate,Health and Housing) Judy Douglas, Jim Dontje, Paul Matzke, Lisa Heldke, Steve Bennett, George Elliott


  1.  Welcome old and new members.
  2. What is the Kitchen Cabinet. Lisa reviewed the history of the Kitchen Cabinet, its inception, the role of the Kitchen Cabinet, and how we value our members. The Cabinet serves as an advisory committee to Dining Service. The Kitchen Cabinet integrates with the mission and vision of the campus as a whole.  We share and swap ideas with each other. Lisa shared what ideas have been generated, although not solely by the Kitchen Cabinet, these ideas have certainly been reviewed in the KC meetings and have been supported by the Kitchen Cabinet members. The Gustieware program, Nobel Conference and Global Insight, Big Hill Farm, Sustainability projects, the Nutrition Labeling project, Fruit Island. The latest involvement was the beverage contract where KC members had active discussions on how we could benefit as a community by engaging Coke and Pepsi in discussions on how they may engage with our students. Kitchen Cabinet has been a sounding board for civil engagement projects.  It was noted how the staff embodies the values of the college. And how that has been passed on to us from past members of the Gustavus community.  Margo commented on how valuable the nutrition labeling project has been to students and students have commented on the helpfulness of the information. Judy made a good point in asking if everyone knows the information is available.  We discussed how we benefit from being self-operational, how we value our dining service and book store.
  3.  The Coming Year.  Steve Bennett discussed the well-being initiative (began in 2008) task force. This group was charged with looking at health and wellness across the campus (a report is available). We have been a community that has been focused on wellness, food, health – staff, faculty and students included. There were a lot of great things to build upon – that information got fed into the 150 recommendations – board of trustees, alumni, people at the college – Health and Wellness figured prominently in those recommendations. The President charged a task force last year to move those recommendations forward – Stephanie Otto and Steve Bennett was charged with this mission and changed the title in about October to Well Being.  At about that time we teamed with The Center for Spirituality and Healing (University of Minnesota), as they have had a program for about 15 years. They had a suggestion to calling it a well being model vs. a wellness program. The Well-being task force included 25 people – made up of students, faculty, and staff. Although it was a large group, it was a much needed group and by bringing this group to the table it was helpful. There were curricular recommendations, co-curricular recommendations, and there were several recommendations on how to advance this model.  There has been a National Advisory Board developed. This year on September 27, we will be hosting a thought leader gathering by bringing together a whole host of people to look at this Gustavus Well Being Model and have people weigh in on what we are doing. Steve discussed how important nutrition and health is and is that one way to focus on the well-being model. Steve talked about how the Center for Spirituality and Healing has fellows, one of who is Brenda, a restaurant owner in the cities who is knowledgeable about cooking, sustainability, health and wellness. And is this something that is of interest to the students as a whole. From the feedback gathered at this meeting, it sounds as if it is. Steve is open to suggestions, ideas and wants to engage students. Lisa commented how food factors into quite a few of the wellness petals. Can we focus more on food and cooking and how do we go about doing that? Judy mentioned that it has been a focus of J-terms in the past. How food factors into building community – Steve talked about how in the past he had hosted a group at his house and how that built community.  Judy talked about how so many students are taking food out and multi-tasking and how sitting down with friends and enjoying the meal is important. Anything we could do to promote more of the wellness model would be helpful. Rebecca talked about a recent survey at a fast food restaurant – and how aesthetically pleasing and how the ratings were better – and if the atmosphere were different would it be viewed differently. People needing to rush through the line, the noisy environment can contribute to people wanting to leave and not engage in conversation. Margo brought up cooking together and how that is intriguing. Erin talked about wellness, fostering a sense of independence – they should be able to learn these next steps her and engage on campus. The residence halls do have kitchens and could we somehow develop and engage in cooking there.  Can we utilize the St. Peter Food Co Op.  Chef Jake and the staff have engaged with students in the past, is that another avenue to explore. Margo and Lisa talked about NPR and the program they had a few years ago that challenged Chefs to feed four people for under ten dollars, can we engage in something similar.  Steve will get together with Erin to discuss more details.
  4. Composter. Jim reviewed with us the proposals that have come back for the composter.  Jim wrote an open RFP and typically they come in all over the map. Anyone who has an interest can also weigh in on this discussion.  We have about 400 pounds of food waste a day (not including coffee grounds).  We have some ways to go on our energy use and our recycling efforts.  We are so lucky that this project has come together. Jim again noted that we have a long ways to go on our own waste stream. It is a training and culture issue and one that we will continue to work on.
  5. Coke grant. Lisa noted we are just a little bit stalled as we need a grant proposal grant form design – someone on the committee will take that on. By spring semester there will be someone receiving that money. 6.
  6. Banana Producer. Margo let us know a Banana Producer would be on campus on Friday, October 19. Would there be anyone interested in meeting with them.
  7. Greens will be meeting this Thursday. Rebecca talked about the ceramic mug issue, do students know they are an option, and they are not getting back to the dining room. Jim suggested doing a cost analysis; perhaps numbers will help put things in perspective. Once students, faculty, staff are aware of the issue, perhaps there will be a solution.  It was also suggested the Psychology Department might be interested in taking this on as a research project in regards to social norming. This relates to the Gustieware as well that does not seem to make it back to the dining room to be washed and used again.

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