A few weeks ago I wrote an article about vegetarian dining at Wittenberg, and I can admit now that it was probably a little harsher than I had originally intended. The day that the issue came out I received an email from Noah Ristau, the General Manager of Dining Services on campus; he expressed his concern about my article and wanted to schedule a meeting with me to discuss things from a vegetarian student’s viewpoint.
When I received the email, I was completely floored. I hadn’t expected anyone to even read my article, let alone care about what it said and make a conscious effort to communicate with me about it. Needless to say, I agreed to the meeting and met with Noah and the new CDR Chef Genie Worthman on a Friday afternoon in Post 95. We sat down and discussed what worked and what didn’t work for vegetarian students when dining on campus, and I focused on much of what I mentioned in my previous article. The conversation was friendly and I never felt as though they were doing anything less than genuinely listening to what I had to say, and through our interaction I found out the reasons behind some of the things that are done in the CDR; for example, the Smart Market station (which is the only all-vegetarian station in the CDR) is not kept open on the weekends because it costs a lot to run it and dining traffic slows down a great deal during meal times on Saturday and Sunday. A lot of these were things I had not previously thought about, so it was nice to get a perspective from someone other than my peers.
Chef Genie was also incredibly pleasant and mentioned a lot of changes that she wants to make to the CDR in upcoming months. She has a lot of great ideas and it seems as though she’ll be a very welcome addition to the Wittenberg community as a whole. Since our meeting, there has been a new vegetarian sandwich introduced at Simply-To-Go in the Kuss Science Center, and it is delicious! Noah also sent me a follow-up email to let me know that he had, indeed, taken some of my suggestions to heart. It meant a lot to me that people in charge not only cared about what students had to say in regard to our campus experience but also wanted to do everything in their power to make it better.
(Rebecca Petrilli / firstname.lastname@example.org)