EMMELINE ENDERSEN ’21
Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer Dan Hitchell met with the Student Government Association (SGA) to discuss Chartwells, Trinity’s dining services provider. It was announced that Goldberg’s On Campus, unaffiliated with Chartwells, may close at the end of this academic school year. Goldberg’s contract will be up on June 30 of this year, and, while discussion is still ongoing, Mr. Hitchell suggested that there seems to be a general preference amongst Goldberg’s managers to close. When it was asked whether there would be a new independent vendor, Mr. Hitchell said that they were not currently seeking a replacement. He added that he “did not think in good conscience that [he] could invite a new restaurant in and have it not do well.” One option he did suggest was the possibility of establishing a Grab-N-Go in the newly opened space with minimal staffing.
Toby Chenette, District Manager, believed that the Bistro could handle overflow from Goldberg’s, but that the reverse is not true. Mr. Hitchell contended that Vernon Social simply does not have the resources that the Bistro does. In an attempt to get feedback on possibilities for the future, especially the use of the potentially open space, Chartwells will hold focus groups with students on Feb. 13 and 14. They are seeking a widespread and varied group of at least one hundred students to sit down and discuss what options there are and to answer questions. More information on the focus groups will be available in upcoming Trinity Today emails.
Over the course of the meeting, various concerns were raised by SGA members about this issue. One recurring theme was the availability of food on North Campus if Goldberg’s is not available. The Bistro is presently closed on weekends from 3:00 pm Friday to 6:00 pm. Sunday, so without Goldberg’s there would be no dining options on that side of campus in that timeframe. This brought up the question of possibly opening up the Bistro for certain hours of the weekend. Mr. Hitchell was open to considering this option, but added that in doing so somewhere else would have to close for those hours in order to maintain current costs.
Another concern regarded the use of Vernon Social. If, as one attendee suggested, Goldberg’s was replaced by a Starbucks or a pop-up of Peter B’s, the nighttime scene would be lost. It was argued by Felicia McDevitt ’21, a senator, that Vernon Social is a more popular option for later hours than the Cave and proposed that those hours be diminished in order to open the Bistro on the weekend.
Other questions about the meal plans also came up. When asked about the new tiered system of food pricing, Paul Vermeal, Senior Director of Dining Services, stated that they were “trying new things” and that if they received negative feedback they would adjust accordingly. Additionally, there was an extensive call to stock the Cave and the Bistro with basic groceries so that students would not have to travel off-campus to buy them. Finally, there seemed to be a consensus from the senior delegation that the senior meal plan of less meal swipes and more ex dollars was effective, and that a commensurate option would be desirable to students of all years.
Dean of Campus Life and Vice President for Student Affairs Joe DiChristina was also present and discussed briefly at the end of the meeting about some of the discrimination incidents that occurred last semester, such as the anti-Semitic drawings, offensive language towards women, and vandalism of the LGBTQ and Dominican flags. Mr. DiChristina was able to confirm that the person responsible for writing anti-Semitic and misogynistic terms on parked cars on Dec. 16 was apprehended and has been held accountable. He mentioned that this was also true for some of the other instances and added that in some cases non-Trinity students were involved and brought back to answer for their actions. Mr. DiChristina expressed a desire to open up a dialogue with students about these issues. The question of how to get people to engage is one that SGA is working towards improving. However, some remain ambivalent, with Brendan Lynch ’20, adding that we “do not have a community, just fragments of people” at Trinity.