Food Services scores with Outbound Meals
The semester break brought a handful of changes to Aggieland. The strings of lights adorning campus have been packed away, former parking lots are buried under mounds of dirt and Food Services unveiled the new Outbound Dining program. The program is a good addition to A&M's food services, and those responsible have gone unrecognized.
For those Aggies still unfamiliar with the new Food Services program, students may use their meal plan to pick up a "meal to go" at either the Commons or Sbisa Dining Facilities. Students may choose several different meal options each day, and after only a few minutes they are on their way.
Though it seemed not many students were aware of Outbound Meals when they began last Tuesday, the number of users are steadily growing.
This new program is a terrific idea. While Texas A&M Food Services is an easy target for student gripes, the department has again demonstrated they care about their clients.
Previously, the only option open to Meal Plan students who could not take the time to eat at a Dining Hall was the Aggie Meal Credit program. Meal credit was a useful alternative. Students traded their dining hall meal for a few dollars credit toward purchases at the Underground Food Court, Bernie's Pizza or other campus food stops.
Outbound Meals benefit students by going a step beyond meal credits. There are very few meals to be purchased for the price of an Aggie Meal Credit, but Outbound gives students an entire meal in exchange for a dining hall visit.
Aggies who have tried an Outbound Meal appreciate the program, and it is time to recognize those responsible for this student service. Of course Food Services deserves credit for accepting input and implementing an idea, but the notion was conceived by a student group.
At the last meeting of the Student Senate, senators hailed the Outbound program as a Student Senate success, but the senate, while supporting the idea, does not represent the origins of the plan.
The Student Senate has passed legislation in support of the Outbound Meal program, helping to draw attention to Food Services' efforts. The idea was launched, however, years earlier by a virtually unknown group of students.
The Student Food Services Advisory Board consists of A&M students who help Food Services make decisions that will affect the student body. The advisory board helps choose menu items, determine popular entrees and recommend occasional changes.
A few years ago the advisory board suggested Food Services consider a take-out meal program. That suggestion got the ball rolling and eventually resulted in the current Outbound Meal program.
Food Services has changed significantly over the past few years. Private companies are now selling food on campus, Sbisa is going through design changes and the department still found time to implement a new program at student recommendation.
Aggies often focus on high-profile groups or people. Students look to the Student Body President or MSC organizations to make a difference, but often lesser known organizations can have a big impact.
Similarly, individual students can change campus. Several student organizations began with one student's vision to affect campus.
The university setting gives Aggies a unique opportunity to see small acts make a dramatic impact. Students should never hope that "someone" will do something, but rather should be bold and take the initiative. The worst thing that can happen is nothing.
Students should keep in mind that while it's often easy to credit those who stand in the spotlight, many times the real responsibility lies behind the scenes.
Dave Johnston is a senior mathematics major.