Pizza with the President

New program to connect students with Link

Anthony Jackson-Duckett, ’24, discusses ideas with President Hilary Link at the “Pizza with the President” event.

The Henderson Campus Center hosted a soon-to-be tradition on Friday, Sept. 9.
Pizza with the President is an open event that is scheduled to be held monthly as a bridge for the Allegheny community to voice their opinion and concerns directly to the president of the college.
Allegheny College President Hilary Link confirmed that the social hour would be a monthly event with its own place on Allegheny’s event calendar.
“Such events where the administration can get feedback directly from the community is part of a bigger push to rebuild the sense of community on campus coming out of the pandemic,” Link said.
Link stated that for the past two and a half years, she had been solely focused on making sure that the college is running efficiently, inserting protocols and regulations that are necessary for the continued operation of the institution, and making sure that no one is getting sick. She explained she had missed out on the community aspect and that the event was a much needed fresh start.
Rebecca Caldwell, ’24, enjoyed the concept and its execution.
“It is nice to be able to voice my concerns and know that they are at least being recognized,” Caldwell said. “More people should take advantage of the opportunity to speak with (Link) and a free lunch.”
Talk about the new dining service provider Aramark was hot during the lunch hour. Attendees were mainly concerning the quality of the food, as well as the inconsiderate and sometimes faulty labeling methods.
Through the discussion on Aramark, Link confirmed two things:
“Firstly, Aramark is not finished transitioning to Allegheny; by continuing the transition through breaks, we hope to see some renovation in our dining areas that are unique to Aramark,” Link said. “Secondly, Aramark will be the food service provider for Allegheny College for the next five to ten years. With the renovations and investments that service providers put in, contracts also have a longer lifespan than most.”
Link said that Parkhurst had been with Allegheny for 17 years, and the college was much in need of a change.
Link add that there was overwhelming feedback for more varied events to be hosted by the college event.
As a way to come to an agreement, Link offered the idea of having students come up with school-wide events that they want to do, and the college’s administration will see if they can make it happen.
Link stated that anyone can book a time to meet with her to discuss any thoughts that students want heard.
Though some students, like Caldwell, came for the conversation and food, others, like Anthony Jackson-Duckett, ’24, arrived with a specific question and no one was stopping him.
“I came here with a question I wanted to ask (Link) directly, and only that, but when I sat down and listened, people were starting to make solid points and discuss possible changes that could be made on campus,” Jackson-Duckett said. “We also got a better understanding of how the Allegheny power structure works.”
Link stressed the importance of fixing the little things. The major changes that need to be made on campus will take longer, but in the meantime, small improvements that make the students’ day-to-day lives easier are what they are looking for from the student body to report.
One such example of a small change was the new fire pits by Murray Hall and on the North Village Quad. Link also talked about possibly relaunching the passport fairs for all entering and returning students as a way to make it easier for students to study abroad.
The biggest discussion roared when the topic of faculty cutbacks was presented and this is what Link had to say about it.
“Frankly speaking, Allegheny had too many faculty members for the number of students we have enrolled,” Link said. “So, to keep the college afloat, the cuts were a necessary decision, but that is now over.”
“Student turnout was great, and the participation was a delight to see,” Link said after the event. “The only way the administration will know what you want is if you tell us, so we implore you to bring us your proposals.”