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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Wednesday, June 12, 2024

TCU Senate discusses campus dining reform, approves Tufts Turbo funding appeal

Senators discussed proposed plans to extend dining hours and improve utilization of meal swipes for fall 2024.

Classes in the new Joyce Cummings Center began in January.

At its most recent weekly Sunday meeting, the Tufts Community Union Senate announced the university’s plans to address food insecurity in light of students’ frustration with no longer being able to use two meal swipes at retail dining locations. The Senate also approved a previously denied funding request from the Tufts TURBO dance group and approved two requests for supplementary club funding.

“Students are frustrated that they can only swipe once per period at retail locations,” Senator Anand Patil said. “We originally asked to have [that changed] back. The administrators denied that, so we proposed an alternative plan which focuses on the food insecurity aspect of it.”

In an interview with the Daily, Patil stressed that the updates are tentative and “not set in stone.” Patti Klos, senior director of dining services, declined to comment on the changes at press time.

According to Patil, senators spoke with Klos and other administrators at the end of March and learned of impending changes that will be made to the dining hall swipe system. According to first-year Brendan French, another senator, the Senate learned of administrators’ plans to introduce four meal periods instead of the preexisting three in the fall 2024 semester. The changes are reportedly as follows: 7–10 a.m., 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., 2–p.m. and 6–10 p.m.

French pointed out that this will let students use four swipes at retail locations each day.

“It’s really exciting,” he said. “It gives us more utilization of our meal swipes.”

Klos allegedly told senators that the Dewick-MacPhie Dining Center will be open until 9:30 p.m., extending opening hours by 30 minutes, with the possibility of Fresh at Carmichael Dining Center receiving a similar extension.

French also mentioned the possibility of refrigerated vending machines being placed around campus that will take meal swipes in exchange for items like “sandwiches, wraps, snacks, drinks, energy drinks [and] coffee.” Placed through a pilot program, the fridges are planned to be open all hours of the week.

Before hearing changes to dining halls, however, the Senate approved Tufts TURBO Dance Group’s appeal for the initial rejection of funding for their annual dance event, TURBOMania. The Allocations Board had originally rejected their request of $6,500 in funding for the competitive breakdancing event.

After hearing the breakdown and justification of costs from senior Joshua Kim, representing Tufts TURBO, many senators questioned whether it was necessary for the club to pay for consulting.

The funds would be used to hire The Flavor Continues, a Boston-based nonprofit that curates street and club dance events, to help coordinate the event. According to Kim, Tufts TURBO has used the same consulting company for their annual event since 2016. 

“As a club, since our members rotate out every three or four years, not many of us have the [opportunity] to ask bigger members of the community to our event,” Kim said. “[The Flavor Continues] helps us not just find who’s in the area, but also helps us to actually get in touch with judges that we need to talk to.”

Some senators reasoned that the event would be too expensive for an attendance of 30–35 students, and that spending money to hire two external emcees was not necessary. Kim said that it is “a lot more useful to have some more experienced community members as an emcee” in the event of unforeseen situations.

The Senate and Kim attempted to find ways to cut down the price, considering options such as only one emcee. The only change made was to remove the $600 cost of hiring a graphic designer.

After further discussion, senators came to an agreement with a vote of 23 in favor and one against, approving an amount of $5,700 for the event. The Senate also voted to have Tufts TURBO sell tickets for the event in order to raise the remaining $200.

Moving onto supplementary funding, the Senate passed $2,150 in funding for filming dance projects for Tufts’ K-pop dance group, KoDA. It also passed over $4,500 in funding for the national competition for Tufts Tae Kwon Do.

First-year Isabela Silvares Lima and French were both named Senator of the Week, and the meeting was adjourned.