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President's Breakfast Recap: Will the STU Food Court Close Again on Weekends?

Mathew Biadun | Staff Writer

President Elsa Nuñez held another of her ‘Presidents’ Breakfasts’ this past Wednesday. The meal, held twice a semester, is a chance for student representatives to meet with various important Eastern staff. In attendance were students from the CCE, SGA, OLAS CAB and others. Along with President Nuñez was also the Dean of Students, Chief of Police, Associate Provost, Dean of Finances, and many other important staff members.

The first item on the agenda was the progress on Webb Lawn, affectionately labeled as the ‘Big Dig’. The project has already costed the university 1.2 million dollars. The pipe again became operational this week; progress that was promised to be completed by Thanksgiving. The deadline for the hole to again be filled, and the fence to be torn down, is December 15th. The report given at the President’s Breakfast, however, reckons that Webb Lawn may be fully back to normal by December 1st.

A sadder report was given on the STU Food Court, which has been opened on weekends again this semester for a trial run. However, the trial run has not gone well. Over the course of the four October weekends, the food court reached a customer-low of 61, and a high of 248. That high looks impressive; but is skewed, as it was the day of the October Open House. Taking that out of account, the Food Court peaked at only 68 students. The Food Court will remain open on weekends for several more months, to see if attendance increases. If it doesn’t, however, the food court may be forced to be closed on weekends again.

Patty Szczys came to describe many new initiatives planned by her Sustainability Department. She plans to create a ‘Swap Shop’ on campus; a place where students can donate used and unneeded appliances or items, and take some with them. She also plans to work with other student organizations to promote social justice and climate policies (which tend to be important to college students), and to plan a Warrior’s Don’t Waste donation event.

Many problems brought to the staff’s attention during last month’s Listening Tour were also discussed. These concerns included making Title IX Training more serious, a staff newsletter informing them about events, mental health issues and supporting CAPS, and more. One topic seriously discussed was food insecurity. The university has been investing deeply into this issue, offering Swipe Forward programs (to get free Hurley swipes), grant funds, Stop & Shop gift cards, and important free pantries like Shawn’s Cupboard.

One complaint given was the lack of a fall break. This is something that many students across campus have been desiring. However, it is outside the University’s hands, as the Board of Regents (a statewide institution controlling most of CT’s public schools) creates the statewide schedule. Eastern has no control in implementing a fall schedule.

Academic issues were also discussed. With the financial difficulties faced in Eastern, and universities across the states, many worried about classes being canceled. Good news and bad news was shared. Classes required for majors will not be cut, and the University will perpetually aim to never cut them. However, classes for small and unpopular concentrations, or even minors, may be considered for budget saving. Doing so has already saved the University over a million dollars, as detailed by the Associate Provost Ben Pauline. Such measures may continue in the future.

Student reports shared future events in the works. CAB gave details on many upcoming projects, including Sustainability Day on the fifteenth, a ‘Honey I Shrank The Kids’ night on the seventeenth, and a community-wide ‘Day of Giving’ on the twenty-second. OLAS also talked about future events, including possibly bringing a Mariachi Band to campus. These fun plans concluded the meeting after about an hour and a half of discussions.

All Information sourced directly from the President’s Breakfast, which the author attended.


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