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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Monday, June 24, 2024
The Echo
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Our View: Gratefulness through the growing pains of student swipes

Taylor dining changes in 2023

The Taylor dining experience has drastically changed over the last couple of months. Between moving from the Hodson Dining Commons to the Euler Science Complex, swapping out dining options in the LaRita Boren Campus Center (Stu), and reported attempts to implement a new dining app, eating on campus in Upland has been one chaotic ride.

Many students on campus, however, feel that the new developments have not been communicated well. A prime example is student swipes.

During the 2022-2023 school year, each Taylor student was allowed seven meals at the Stu per week before needing to use dining dollars. This year on Aug. 9, Taylor sent out an email detailing changes to dining in 2023; one announcement among the news was student swipes would be increased from seven to 10 meals a week, but with the caveat that only seniors could use them every day of the week.

Thus, student swipes for underclassmen could only be used from Monday to Friday. Despite the email, most of campus didn’t receive the message. Either by accident or by overlooking alternatives, many students arrived at the check-out line with the cashiers stating that dining dollars were needed.

Students couldn’t keep track of their own dining dollars due to the old dining app being deactivated. No email, text or alert informed students that they could no longer use Tap & Eat to keep track of their meals.

The issues also extended to students who were on campus over the summer. Arianna Blakeley, a personnel assistant (PA) in English Hall during the summer, never knew when Euler dining was open. 

“There are basic things that I think go overlooked,” Blakeley said. “We’d go (for lunch) at 2 p.m. and they would be closed. I still don’t know what the summer hours officially were.”

But through the issues that have been prevalent through the beginning of the year, Taylor has been proactive in changing the status quo and hearing the complaints from the student body. 

On Sept. 5, there was a dining announcement email reiterating that student meal swipes had been increased from seven to 10. The announcement also said that student swipes could once again be used on Saturdays, and that a new dining app was in development, confirming a hunch that students had developed after failing to use last year’s app.

On Sept. 6, Taylor held a feedback session to hear students' thoughts about the renovations being made to the Dining Commons, and how attendees felt about Taylor’s vision for campus dining in the future.

These improvements have been made possible by the diligent student senate on campus. Chair of the senate, senior Peter Schwarck, alluded to the work that he and his team have done to improve the dining experience for students and the collaborative spirit of Taylor’s dining services.

“We (the student senate) try to point out concerns that students have, and then fix those concerns,” Schwarck said. “But there were a couple of issues. We just bring up those issues and see how well (dining services) can accommodate us, and recently, those things actually changed in a really positive way.”

The positive changes have continued. On Monday, Sept. 18, an announcement was released that the side options had been increased at the Stu. Nearly every meal will now include a side, pizza slices have returned to two slices per meal swipe and more options for sides will be added to meal swipes.

On the editorial board, we believe that we should be grateful for the dining options that we have — there are few schools across America that have daily access to an on-campus Chick-fil-A included in their meal plan! And despite the fact that our choices are not always explained in a timely or convenient manner, we need to give grace to the men and women working behind the scenes to improve the food at Taylor.

It’s been a methodical undertaking. As students are adjusting to Taylor’s new partnership with AVI Foodsystems, TU is trying to adjust as well. The situation hasn’t been perfect, far from it. But through this month’s growing pains and last year’s chaos, something better will come — and the process has already begun.