Saint Mary’s provides meals to students over break despite closed dining hall
Jordan Cockrum | Wednesday, November 28, 2018
In years past, students who stayed at Saint Mary’s over fall break or the Thanksgiving holiday were left without on-campus dining options. Instead, they had to stock up on groceries and feed themselves with dorm-friendly foods.
This year, however, Saint Mary’s offered several dinners for students, who could sign up if they were staying over the break. About 50 students signed up for these dinners, vice president of student affairs Karen Johnson said.
Johnson said the Sisters of the Holy Cross hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for students Thursday night, as well as Christmas tree decorating with pizza Friday and another meal Saturday.
“We truly appreciate the Sisters of the Holy Cross helping us out,” Johnson said in an email.
The idea to provide dinners for students who stayed on campus for break came from the Saint Mary’s Student Diversity Board. During the transition from former College President Jan Cervelli to Interim College President Nancy Nekvasil in early October, Nekvasil met with both the student body as a whole and Student Diversity Board to discuss next steps and address student concerns.
Junior and president of Student Diversity Board Bella Tillman said students came to the group to express the difficulty they faced in finding meals while on campus during breaks. This complaint inspired the group to work to provide for students that spend their break at the College.
“We were made aware of the fact that a bunch of girls didn’t have anywhere to go during breaks, but also our dining hall is closed,” Tillman said. “So they aren’t getting anything to eat because they have nowhere else to go, so we decided to try and start serving meals over breaks.”
Student Diversity Board raised the issue with Nekvasil at her town hall with the Board following her appointment as Interim President, Tillman said. The group met with Nekvasil and Johnson several more times to begin planning, after which Johnson took over most of the responsibility.
“The first town hall meeting with Nekvasil we started, because that’s when the idea came up,” Tillman said. “And then we kept talking with her and Karen Johnson, and then everything started being planned.”
Tillman said Student Diversity Board found this cause to be necessary due to the responsibility the College has to students.
“The students are here, and it’s not their choice that they don’t have anywhere else to go,” Tillman said. “And also they are here for the housing and the dining, and so it’s kind of Saint Mary’s job to provide the food for them, too, if they’re paying for it.”