SGA: Merrill dining, academic affairs, resolution introductions


Tyson Dubay, the resident district manger for Campus Dining at Central Michigan University discusses the progress of Merrill Virtual Food Hall at the SGA meeting on Nov. 6, 2023. 

Students could face a $5 "green fee" starting in the fall 2024, under a joint resolution presented to the Student Government Association House Monday night.

The fee was proposed by Lauren Dey, a member of Central Sustainability. She discussed how the fees would be used to fund Central Sustainability, as well as future projects on campus. While there are no projects set in stone, Dey suggested some of these projects could include solar panels, electric vehicle chargers, and the beautification of campus. 

"We want to be very transparent about where it's going and what it's funding," Dey said. "The best kind of fee is one that's transparent for students."

Dey revealed that part of the reason Central Sustainability is proposing the bill is due to budget cuts. While they were originally funded by Facilities Management, that department went through budget cuts and decided to stop funding Central Sustainability.

"It wasn't anything personal," Dey said.

Dey said that sustainabilty is something CMU striving to maintain and improve upon, and she believes these green fees could help fund these improvements.

Representatives had a variety of questions about the bill, such as how student voices would be considered and included in these decisions and how students would be able to opt out of the fee. 

Many members expressed concern over the funding going towards electrical vehicle chargers, as most electrical vehicles are owned by staff as opposed to students. Dey reiterated these projects are just ideas and not set projects.

The legislation underwent suggested changes, some of which included giving students the opportunity to opt in instead of opting out. Another changes suggested was to incorporate more student voices in regards to a future committee surrounding the projects the green fees would fund. 

The legislation will be edited and presented again at the next SGA meeting.

Additionally, SGA had guest speakers from campus dining who discussed the progress of Merrill Virtual Food Hall. Upon downloading the MobileOrder app and logging in, students can place an order through the dining hall and pick up their orders when it's ready. 

Merrill Hall's new virtual dining structure has seen 12 percent growth since the start of the academic year, signaling it a success for campus dining and food service contractor Chartwells, Resident District Manager Tyson Dubay told members of the Student Government Association Monday.

Dubay was accompanied for the meeting by Senior executive Chef Corey Arndt; the two provided updates on and a glimpse into the future of campus dining. 

"Merrill was a shot in the dark," Dubay said. "We kind of pieced it together over the course of the summer."

He also said that the hall rotates its food options using the "Student Choice" category, in which students can vote on popular food items or local restaurants can apply for timeslots. 

Campus Dining is planning to further renovate the Merrill food hall in Summer 2024, hoping to create "more of a hangout space for students." 

Outside of Merrill, the department is also working to streamline the ordering process and offer more virtual ordering options. Dubay said a virtual ordering test run is starting today with the grill in Woldt and Carey dining halls so students can order burgers, hot dogs, and more.

"Take advantage of the technology we have to use," Dubay said. "Hopefully it can make (your dining) experience a little bit better."

Arndt spoke about upcoming events involving the dining halls, such as a teaching kitchen on Nov. 9 for students interested in learning how to cook, and Joyful on Nov. 16 with guest chef Sam Anglin, a Saginaw Chippewa Indian tribal member talking about indigenueous ingredients and recipes. Both events are occuring in the Eatery. 

While they were unable to take questions that night, they encouraged students to submit their questions on Engage for the Town Hall meeting taking place next month. They also encouraged feedback through platforms such as Happy or Not, text to chat and Dine on Campus.

In Other Events: 

  • SGA President Tyler Zimmerman reminded RSO members that he is still interested in visiting RSO meetings to gather information and improve relations.
  • Vice President Ryan Biller talked about the Canoe Battleship event occurring on Wednesday in the SAC Pool from 8 to 11 p.m. Teams of up to four people will be in canoes with buckets and attempting to pour water into other teams' canoes in an effort to sink them while also trying to stay afloat themselves. Signups are still open, and spectators are encouraged.
  • Biller also talked about the Athletics Canned Food Drive event running from Nov. 6 to Nov. 15. Drop off locations are in the U.C. near the volunteer center, Indoor Athletic Complex, Rose Center and Student Activity Center.
  • The Academic Affairs Committee started producing a video to promote the platform Handshake. Handshake is a platform that connects CMU students with internship and job opportunities based on their current academic pursuits.
  • House Speaker Josh Boman talked about an opening in the Student Budget Allocation Commitee. The spot was filled by representative Alexandra Ghannam via student vote.
  • The House of Representatives laid out its visioning and goals for the coming academic year. The official resolution finalizing the plan is expected to be approved at the next meeting.