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SGA holds first meeting of new semester; Manchino discusses new meal exchange program

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In autumn, nature officially begins its cycle of change. For Westfield State University, a cycle of change has started as well.

Dr. Ramon S. Torrecilha, President of Westfield State University, starts his first fall semester and welcomes the class of 2020. The Science Center, a new academic building, holds new classes and gives much needed space for departments. Lastly, Westfield State Dinning, a new dinning service which aims to bring healthy options across all campus restaurants, will be taking over from the previous dining service, Sodexo.

Continuing to adapt to the changes is the Student Government Association, the longest standing form on campus. SGA has returned to serve the students of Westfield State University with new president, Matthew Carlin, and new executive board members.

SGA held their third meeting with half the legislative body present. By October, once voting has been completed, SGA will be at full capacity.

The meeting was quick and casual, but ended on questions from senators over the food committee’s announcement of the new meal exchange program.

Carlin motioned Jillian Tardy as the new commutator council president, which passed unanimously with the legislation. He also said that the Westfield State food pantry, called Common Goods, will be open at the second congregational church every Tuesday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

After Carlin finished, Andrew Manchino from the food serveries committee, relayed new information to senate about what will be happening in the Dining Commons, more specifically for those with the five swipe meal plan offered by the University.

Manchino said that vegan and vegetarian options are available to anyone who asks any server for them. In addition, Manchino said that the DC will be adding a variety of new foods starting Monday Sept. 26. This comes after a number of students suggested mixing up food stations. No specific foods were mentioned by Manchino.

The highlight of the report came from details on the meal exchange program, which grants students a new way to use their meal swipes. Any student who has a five-swipe meal plan can order food from any campus restaurant with their meal swipe. “One meal swipe has a value of $8.50,” Manchino said.

Manchino also said as long as a student orders something under or up to $8.50, a meal swipe can be used.

“If I want to use three swipes at the DC and then two swipes at TJ’s I can do that,” he said.

Campus restaurants using the meal exchange are Ely Harvest, Wilson Café, and TJ’s Bistro. The meal exchange program is going on now.

When asked if other meal swipe plans will join the program, Manchino said that the dining service is looking into it, but won’t add to the program anytime soon. Students with higher meal swipes could feel shortchanged, but there is a plan for higher meal swipe students.

For other students who have a ten, 14, or 19-swipe meal plan, they can use a swipe at the Perc, which is attached to TJ Bistro on the left, starting on Monday Sept. 26th, Manchino said.

This Grab and Go option is similar to what Pandini’s previously had, and offers students a lunch entree, a bag of chips or an apple, and a drink. This will be open from 10:30 a.m. through 3 p.m. Manchino said there will not be much variety during the first week of the Grab and Go so that the service can get a feeling for it, but other options will be available after this initial first week.

Finally, Manchino announced that the first year read and lecture will take place in the DC on the 26th from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.  He said there will be four first year reads throughout the semester at the DC. This could receive backlash from other students if it causes heavy traffic for the food lines. Manchino said to plan accordingly.

The next meeting of the Student Government Association will be on Sept. 27, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. in the Peter D. Mazza Student Government Room in the garden level of Ely by Dunkin’ Donuts.

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