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Group ponders ‘Fighting for Footlongs’

Madeline Buckley | Thursday, February 19, 2009

The bulk of Wednesday’s Student Senate meeting was dedicated to a discussion of whether or not student government should get involved in a fight for $5 footlongs at the Subway in LaFortune.

A Facebook group dedicated to obtaining the sandwiches in the Huddle has amassed over 1,500 members and inspired student government to add this cause to its agenda.

Student body president Bob Reish said Grant Schmidt, student body vice president, met with the creator of the “Fighting for Footlongs” Facebook group and has scheduled meetings with Jim LaBella, the general manager of the Huddle, and Dave Prentkowski, the director of Notre Dame Food Services. Schmidt was not present at the meeting, but Reish invited the senators to voice concerns Schmidt should convey in these meetings happening later in the week.

O’Neill Hall senator Kevin Kimberly said this issue is a priority for students because Subway is the most popular food venue in the Huddle.

“I feel like there is such a focus on Subway because the other options are unappealing, like Sbarro and Burger King,” he said. “There’s always a constant line at Subway.”

However, Walsh Hall senator Julie Zorb said many of the girls in her dorm say they are not interested in $5 footlongs.

“Girls in Walsh say they don’t care because they wont eat that large of a sandwich,” she said.

Zorb also said she has heard people complain that students care so much about sandwich prices.

Reish then asked senators if they think this is an issue student government should discuss. He questioned whether it is too minor of an issue for student government, but he said the huge support the Facebook group has indicates it is an important concern of the student body.

Social Concerns Committee chair Michelle Byrne said she is disappointed students rally in large numbers to support $5 footlongs, while more significant issues – like the revised sexual assault policy that was recently passed by student government – go unnoticed.

“I would like to call us all to a higher standard,” she said.

Sarah Rodts, Student Outreach Committee chair, said student government should listen to the concerns of students, even if they are about Subway sandwiches, but she said she hopes attention will also be paid to more important issues.

“I ask that just as much attention be paid to things like the sexual assault policy,” she said.

Despite these concerns, Campus Technology Committee chair Devin Fee said arguing against working for $5 footlongs because of a lack of attention paid to sexual assault is not logical.

“It’s important for student government to promote social responsibility, but you guys were elected as senators to represent the students in your hall,” he said. “This is what you’re elected to do – take student concerns to a higher level.”

Fee said many students have an unfavorable perception of student government because they believe it does not accomplish anything.

He said aiding the fight for footlongs would improve this perception.

“We need as much good press as we can get,” he said.

In other Senate news:

u Student Senate unanimously passed an amendment to continue the Campus Technology Committee. This year, the committee helped obtain printers for every residence hall, put a printer in Jordan Hall and worked on the switch from Webmail to Gmail as the University’s official e-mail domain, according to Campus Technology Committee chair Devin Fee.