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Dining & Social Options Task Force

Charge to the Task Force on
Dining & Social Options in the Residential Colleges

In its August 2002 report, the Four-Year Residential College Program Planning Committee identified the residential college dining program as critical to the success of the new residential college system. The report identified four key principles to achieve this goal:

  • a flexible dining environment that supports our aspirations for building community in the residential setting, including the possibilities of extended meal hours, uses of dining spaces for study and community activities outside of dining hours, and access to dining facilities that is less rigidly controlled than our current check-in system;
  • improvement in the quality of food;
  • attention to the quality of the space in college dining halls, with high standards for furnishing, lighting, acoustics, and ambiance; and
  • additional variety in dining spaces and options.

The report offered general guidance about ways of realizing these principles, with special emphasis on the need for a new dining plan that would "feature simplicity of access, flexibility, opportunities for meal exchanges between colleges and clubs, numerous guest meal passes, and built-in points for use at the Frist Campus Center. Ideally, dining halls should be open, without required check-in."

The Task Force on Residential College Dining is charged with developing specific recommendations in each of the four areas outlined above for realizing the aspirations of the Four-Year College Program Planning Committee for a dining program of sufficient quality and attractiveness to make the four-year colleges an appealing option for a very wide range of students.

The Four-Year Residential College Program Planning Committee recommended that students remain affiliated with their residential colleges for all four years, whether or not they choose to live in the college in their junior and senior years. To encourage students to participate in activities in their residential colleges while also taking advantage of the other dining options for juniors and seniors, the task force is asked to specifically consider:

  • possible structures for meal plans for all classes who live in the residential colleges that would enable those upperclass students who wish to do so to split their meal contracts between residential colleges and eating clubs or residential colleges and independent arrangements.
  • ways of encouraging non-resident juniors and seniors to take occasional meals and participate freely in activities in their original residential colleges, for example, through a fee structure that allows all students to get some food as part of their housing plans.