By Jenni Culkin
Nine members of the Board of Trustees unanimously decided to approve Resolution 2015.14 on Thursday, Feb 19 as a part of their monthly meeting. The meeting ran from about 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the alumni room with a full-capacity audience of student leaders, college officials, the president of the college and the board members
The resolution authorized a contract with Aramark Education Services LLC for food and vending services, a follow-up to the contract with Dover that is going to expire in June of 2015.
Three companies initially proposed to fill the food service provider spot after the Dover contract expiration. The opinion-based data collected from students through an online survey was used to make the final decision.
Gail Vizzini, the Vice President of Business and Financial Affairs, stated during the meeting that the switch the Aramark will include such brand name selections as Starbucks, Chick-fil-a, and Subway.
“It’s a good deal,” said Brian Darwell, treasurer of the Student Government Association, when talking about the new brand name choices. “It’s all the stores we go to off-campus anyway.”
Vizzini also mentioned a few of potential benefits to student life from the switch. The opportunity to renovate the cafeteria to become a more social environment, later hours to accommodate evening students, and internship opportunities for graduates with the company were all discussed during the meeting.
“I believe the students deserve better,” said Grady Amilcar, the student trustee, about Aramark. “[They’re] going to offer better quality, better overall service.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing the renovation and the bigger selection for the students,” said Ammerman Campus Executive Dean George Tvelia.
The Aramark decision also sparked debate about whether or not to offer a prepaid card for students. At first, some student leaders had their doubts about the card, which would require students to fill a card with $100 or more at the beginning of the semester to swipe and go, like a gift card.
But the benefits outweighed any faults, according to the students who came to speak at the February 19th meeting.
“I feel like the card will be beneficial,” said Diondra Lane, a peer mentor from SCCC’s Eastern Campus in Riverhead.
If the card method were to be used by students, purchases of food will be tax exempt, cards will be valid at vending machines, cards will be available to employees and students alike, a discount will be available for students who put more than a certain amount in their card at one time, and leftover financial aid money can be used with the card as long as the student opts in beforehand.
Fortunately, the card isn’t the only way to make a purchase. Cash will still be a payment option for students, but the convenience of avoiding a line by a quick card swipe is an incentive for students to use the new card.
The discussions from the Feb. board meeting could mean tremendous changes for the college’s students. Lowering tuition, serving better food, and providing a more extensive educational environment all sound like positive points that could bring optimism on students that will attend the college in the fall semester of 2015.