Students Form New Dining Comm.

CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE: An earlier version of this article misspelled Dean for Student Life Costantino Colombo's name. His first name is Costantino, not Constantino.

The Undergraduate Association Senate passed legislation on Monday night creating a new UA Dining Proposal Committee charged with recommending “a comprehensive program that meets the needs of the MIT community,” according to the bill. The new committee will consist entirely of students and will develop a dining proposal at the same time the Blue Ribbon Committee on Dining, charged by the MIT administration with re-envisioning dining at MIT, aims to develop its own.

The UA Senate also passed legislation requiring that the Blue Ribbon Committee on Dining release raw data from a student dining survey collected by its consultant, Envision Strategies, “for the purpose of allowing independent analysis.” The data is currently only available in summary form.

In response to this bill, the Blue Ribbon Committee on Dining met on Thursday night and agreed to submit a recommendation to Dean for Student Life Costantino Colombo on Friday to authorize the release of the raw survey and focus group data, said UA Vice President Michael Bennie. He said that he hopes that the data will be available early next week.

The new Dining Proposal Committee plans to use the Envisions Strategies data to complete their proposal. The UA bill asks that the Dining Proposal Committee present a draft proposal to the UA Senate on April 24 and prepare a final report for May 1. According to Daniel Hawkins, the UA Senator from Simmons and writer of the bill, “after approval by the senate, the Dining Proposal Committee will generate its own proposal and submit it to senior administrators.”

Meanwhile, the Blue Ribbon Committee on Dining has been requested to submit its report by the end of April, according to the committee’s public website.

Applications to be a member of the UA Dining Proposal Committee are being accepted until 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 13. The UA Nominations Committee will present a slate of nominees from the applicant pool to the UA Senate on Monday. The committee will have positions for students across a spectrum of living and dining arrangements at MIT: dorms with dining halls, dorms without dining halls, fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups.

Bennie said he doesn’t expect that any of the student members of the Blue Ribbon Dining Committee will be members of the new UA committee.

Donna Denoncourt, associate Dean of Residential Life and Chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee, wrote in an e-mail, “Our goal has always been to incorporate student input, so the Blue Ribbon Committee will be discussing if and how to best incorporate the work of the UA Dining Proposal Committee into our process.”