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Senate hears presentations on listening sessions, meal plan restructuring

| Tuesday, November 6, 2018

At its weekly meeting, the Notre Dame student senate approved the nomination of the president of The Shirt project for the upcoming year and heard presentations on both the campus listening sessions regarding sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and campus dining meal plan restructuring.

As the first order of business, senior Jin Kim, student union treasurer and chairman of the Financial Management Board, read a letter nominating senior Kristin Andrejko to serve as president of The Shirt project. According to Kim’s letter, Andrejko has been a part of the Shirt Project since her freshman year and served as its president last year, as a junior.

“When I spoke with Kristin, I could tell that her enthusiasm and dedication for the Shirt Project was second to none, and her work experience and accomplishments within The Shirt Project speak for themselves,” Kim said in the letter. “I believe she is more than qualified to take on this role, and I have no doubt that she will lead The Shirt Project to deliver yet another record-breaking year.”

Andrejko was approved by the senate unanimously for the position.

Sophomore and director of faith and service for student government Aaron Benavides then presented to the senate about the listening sessions for students regarding the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church. The sessions are being put on by the Campus Engagement Task Force, a nine-member group chaired by vice president for mission engagement and church affairs Fr. Gerry Olinger and associate law professor Jennifer Mason McAward.

“Essentially, our duty is to facilitate dialogue and listen to the observations, thoughts and recommendations of different members of the Notre Dame community in regards to the crisis in the Catholic Church right now,” Benavides said. “What we’re really focusing on is what Notre Dame itself can and should be doing as a Catholic institution of higher learning.”

Benavides stressed Notre Dame’s duty as a Catholic school to take action in a time that is difficult for members of the Catholic Church.

“What’s going on in the church right now is incredibly upsetting, and I think that we, being here at the University of Notre Dame, have a special honor being here, but also a duty to help in whatever way we can,” Benavides said.

The task force is hosting seven listening sessions in total. Five of the discussions are solely for faculty and staff, but two of the sessions, one held on Monday, Nov. 5 and the other Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in 720 Corbett Hall, are for students, who are encouraged to attend.

Following Benavides, junior Eduardo Luna, co-director of student life, gave a presentation regarding the University’s efforts to restructure the campus dining meal plans. Luna’s presentation included statistics about the use and efficiency of the dining halls on Notre Dame’s campus. The University currently offers three on-campus meal plans: the Blue plan, which includes 21 meals in the dining halls and no flex points; the default Gold, which includes 14 meals per week and $500 in flex points and Green, which includes 14 meals, $360 flex points and $360 Domer Dollars.

According to the Notre Dame campus dining website, more than 99 percent of resident undergrads pick the default Gold Plan.

Luna said the cost to the student per meal is $9.13 for the Blue Plan, $11.67 for the Gold Plan and $11.85 for the Green Plan.

“The general trend is that the more meal swipes you purchase, the cheaper the meal is on average,” Luna said.

Anywhere from 20,325 to 40,650 meal swipes go unused per week, Luna said. Due to the general trend of students using fewer meal swipes, Notre Dame is taking steps to reevaluate its meal plans and holding focus groups regarding this restructuring in order to gather student input. There are several possible options for changing the meal plans that have been proposed, including reducing the meal swipes, switching to a system with only flex points, switching to a meal block system, making the meal swipes unlimited and removing late lunch. Luna said making meal swipes unlimited is the option he prefers.

“The pro is that it eliminates the possibility of wasting swipes. Students are wasting a lot of swipes at the dining hall,” Luna said. “I think if overall swipe usage goes up, then what’s going to end up happening is the food budget will go up and the overall quality and variety of food go up.”

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About Claire Rafford

Claire Rafford is an English major and a Journalism, Ethics and Democracy minor from the class of 2021. She is originally from Tempe, Arizona. Her skills include excessive Harry Potter trivia knowledge. That is it.

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