This article was originally published in Student Life.
Last week, Student Union Senate passed a resolution denouncing Dining Service’s decision to eliminate mozzarella (mozz) sticks, crepes, and tater tots and asking them to continue providing the foods regularly. After a survey was distributed on Facebook, through Washington University groups such as Overheard at WashU and Class of 2020, the resolution was announced, citing over 1200 responses to the survey. According to the resolution document, SU Senate will try to work with Dining Services administrators and Bon Appetit to come to an agreement on health and unhealthy options on campus.
As avid supporters of mozz sticks and tots, the Student Life editorial board is elated about SU Senate’s resolution. But there is more to this action than simply the rekindling of delicious late-night foods.
What SU Senate showed us last week is that it’s extremely capable of listening to the desires of students, conducting an investigation to gather evidence of those complaints, and passing legislation to start a path toward change. This process, conducted in a transparent and time-efficient way, spotlights the potential that SU Senate has to comprehend and begin enacting real change on campus.
Senate isn’t the only one to commend: the student population, as well, apparently filled out over 1200 surveys for Senate, in a matter of days. This fast acting allowed Senate to have access to a large amount of data to bring into talks with the University and Bon Apetit, with concrete numbers.
If you take a step back, it may seem silly that all this commotion was garnered over some desserts and fried foods. But the real point is that the student body mobilized quickly to speak about a topic that mattered to them, and Senate truly advocated for students at Wash. U.
Now, we urge Senate and the student body to continue this precedence of involvement and quick mobilization for an important cause. There are still many problems on campus—sexual assault, mental health resources, parking prices and availability, and dismal standards of allergy labelling for foods. Some of the issues are much harder to talk about openly, like traumatic sexual assault experiences or hesitations to openly relay issues with mental health. Because of that, they’re harder to notice than the clamoring of angry upperclassmen who want cherished foods back; but they’re still incredibly important.
We hope that Senate takes this model and applies it to those more difficult situations, by using anonymous surveys and fact-based evidence to present a case to make changes with the University. And we hope that students continue to tell SU what their concerns are, even if it’s difficult, to cause lasting positive changes on campus, and allow SU to truly advocate for what they want. If they can do it for mozz sticks, they can do it for anything.