Committee seeks feedback on undergraduate dining plans

Oct. 5, 2016 10 a.m.

A new University committee is seeking student input as it conducts a comprehensive review of undergraduate board plans. The Princeton University Board Plan Review Committee (PUBPR) is charged with developing recommendations for campus dining options that support the diverse needs of Princeton's undergraduate student body.

The committee expects to spend this academic year evaluating undergraduate board plans, leading to recommendations for the University to consider in the future. Executive Director of Campus Dining Smitha Haneef and Dean of Rockefeller College Oliver Avens co-chair the group of staff and students.

The committee is interested in feedback related to undergraduate meal plans, independent dining and student food cooperatives. Students are invited to attend open focus groups Monday, Oct. 17, from 6 to 7 p.m., in the Rockefeller College Private Dining Room, and Friday, Oct. 21, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., at Campus Club. The committee also will host by-invitation discussions with different student groups, as well as collect comments from the University community via its website.

"Dining is an important part of residential life, and is connected to the University's broader efforts to support campus living-learning environments for our students," Haneef said. "Our committee will look at all undergraduate board plans to inform possible programmatic options."

The board plan review comes out of the University's strategic planning process and also is informed by the 2026 Campus Plan under development. The strategic planning task force on the residential college model discussed (among many ideas) the need to assess which dining options most effectively support engaged undergraduate communities in the residential colleges and across campus more broadly.

The PUBPR committee is interested in student input on a range of topics, including: board plan options; hours of service for residential dining facilities; dining locations and how students decide where to eat meals on campus; and the dining experiences of independent students and students who are members of food cooperatives.

"We are very interested in learning from the campus community," Avens said. "We want to hear what students like about the board plans and dining options, and what may be missing."

Undergraduates Aleksandra Czulak, Class of 2017, and Michael Zhou, Class of 2019, serve on the committee and said they are looking forward to learning from other students.

"We want to engage as many students as possible to get good feedback and data on the impact of the dining plan on student experiences," said Czulak, president of the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). "Over the past two years, the USG has worked closely with Campus Dining and Executive Director Smitha Haneef on initiatives such as the founding of a Campus Dining Student Advisory Board. The Board Plan Review Committee is an opportunity to dig deeper and to learn more about what Princeton students want to see out of their meal plans, and identify gaps and new opportunities to better serve Princeton students."

Zhou encouraged students to participate in the committee's focus groups or submit comments on the website.

"Students' dining experiences are a big part of their lives on campus," Zhou said. "This is a wonderful opportunity for students to share their opinions and have an influence on real changes."

The board plan review committee is sponsored by the offices of the dean of the college, vice president for campus life and vice president for university services.