Res Life and Dining Services explain future plans at hall meeting

Ian Larsen/ Sun Star Reporter

Mar. 11, 2014

Last Thursday night UAF Residence Life held a two hour town hall for students in the Hess Recreation Center to shed light on upcoming changes to campus dining and living.

About 40 students and faculty attended the event.

Director of Residence Life Laura McCollough was the first to speak at the meeting about the changes currently made, and upcoming changes to campus living.

McCollough explained to students about renovations to the Cutler retaining wall with more lights and handicap accessibility as well as new paint, carpet and kitchen renovations in McIntosh.

“We are hoping as always to renovate when the time and money is available,” Mcollough said. “On top of that, we are [asking for] new housing all the time.”

On top of renovations, McCollough talked about the possibilities of new dorm furniture for the halls and gender-neutral housing on campus

“The reason we are interested in this is because there are a wide variety of reasons of why someone would want to live with the opposite sex,” McCollough said.

This is a project that needs to be taken slowly, and the idea still has to make its way through a few steps of governance such as the Dean, and the UAF Business Office. If it manages to make it through, that a floor in Bartlett hall might be used as a test run to try out gender-neutral housing, McCollough said.

Gender-neutral housing will go through testing for the 2015-16 school year if it is approved by UAF governance.

Interim Contract Manager Pamm Zierfuss-Hubbard  told students what to expect from the new Wood Center expansion and how the dining plans will change in the coming fall semester.

According to Hubbard, the Wood Center will become the new central dining area on campus for the fall semester. The Tilly will begin moving July 17 and fully transition to the new cafeteria by the beginning of August

The new cafeteria will have six different food stations.  So far the concepts for these stations are: Mongolian Grill, homestyle cooking, deli, pizza/pasta, grill and salad bar with an extended menu coffee shop downstairs in the new addition, Hubbard said.

With the new layout, students who have a meal plan or do not have a meal plan will be able to sit together and have meals with each other without having to pay to get inside, like they currently have to at the Tilly.

Because of the new changes, the campus meal plans will have a complete overhaul. The details have not been completely fleshed out, but the all-you-can-eat plans will be disappearing and meal plans will consist of either blocks or munch money. All meal plans will be available to all students, Zierfuss-Hubbard said.

The Family and Faculty Housing Coordinator for Res Life, Anna Gagne-Hawes Maple, gave students a presentation of the new online housing sign up students will be using this year.

Instead of waiting in line to homestead or get a room for next year, students will go online and use the site to sign up for housing. The program will use a lottery-style selector for student’s turns to pick their rooms in order to promote fairness in the system. Once a student is on the selection pages, they will be able to pick what halls, room type, roommate preferences, meal plan and possible handpicked roommates they want.

Students had many different questions such as: how the declining balance on the meal plan would work, if the restrictions would be lifted on meal plan options with the changes and how the food would be acquired without an all-you-can-eat style buffet like the Tilly. The questions were not fully answered because the new meal plan changes have not been fully fleshed out.

Students also asked questions about the housing side of the discussion: How would the selection process for gender neutral housing would work, if this housing would become available in the apartment complexes such as Sustainable Village, and the Cutler Apartments.

After spring break, Res Life plans to hold a work shop to instruct students how to use the online room selection service as well as address any further concerns or questions about the upcoming changes.

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3 Responses

  1. Billy says:

    Boo! The all you can eat meal plan was the best. There was no worrying about running out of meals.

  2. Christin says:

    Good for UAF for starting on co-ed housing! Oberlin College has done it since the 70’s, at which time “Psychologists of the day concluded that coed living helped alleviate tensions between the sexes. In essence, men could relate to women as friends rather than as sexual objects.”

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