At the beginning of this year, Samford Dining made an exciting announcement to the student body. Any students with the 19-meal swipe dining plan could now use five of those meal swipes per week on specific meals at food retail outlets across campus, such as Chick-fil-A, Moe’s, Einstein’s and Freshens.
Freshens was the only one of these retail outlets that already had meal swipe options for students. However, when students arrived back on campus, they found that some of the previously-existing options at Freshens were no longer available.
At the first SGA Senate meeting of the year on Tuesday, Sept. 1, the Campus Services Committee reported the issue to the Senate. Because the Campus Services Committee had received so many constituent reports from students, the committee contacted Dining Services. Alan Crisologo, Committee Chair, announced at a later Senate meeting that from that point forward , all the options that used to be available for meal swipes had once again been made available..
“It brings variety to the students. When you have to go to the Caf a lot of times, it can be tiring, even when it’s the best food,” Crisologo said. “And also, it lessens the load on the cafeteria to allow students to use other places, other retail locations, which will dissipate the load and should lower wait times everywhere.”
The Campus Services Committee continues to work with Samford Dining, according to constituent reports sent in by students. One issue they are addressing in the coming week is making sure that students can use more than one meal swipe a day at the same retail location.
Richard Davis, General Manager of Samford Dining, expanded on the issue, saying that altering meal swipes is a very complicated process. It took two months over the summer for Dining Services to accomplish this. Because Freshens was the only retail site on campus that already had meal swipe options, those meal swipes were confused somewhere along the way.
On top of the meal swipe challenge, the labor shortage across campus has complicated the university’s ability to produce what they are usually able to. Davis explained that the university is currently at 60% of its usual work force. All employees are working six days a week, and Samford is offering referral and retention bonuses, along with other benefits, to compensate for the long hours each employee is working.
“The reason for that is because so many people have just simply left the workforce,” Davis said. They’re not necessarily even on unemployment; they’re just not showing up anymore.”
Davis said that if any students on campus are looking for a job, he will hire them immediately.
“Any student can walk through my door today, and we will hire them. We’ll pay well, we treat you well, we’ll feed you good, and we’ll work around your schedule,” Davis said.
Students said they are glad to have all of their Freshens meal swipe options available again. However, labor shortage is an issue that the university will continue to deal with.