College considers new dining option


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For two years, the shutter has been pulled down on the window of the Allegheny Baking Company.

But now, plans are in the works to re-open the station, headed by Allegheny Student Government and Parkhurst Dining Services.

All they have to figure out is what to put in.

After a month of deliberation, four options are still on the table: a Freshens Smoothie & Yogurt, a community-supported agriculture drop site, a value window for Parkhurst food and a Starbucks.

“[Choosing a new station] is something the Student Life Committee really got behind,” said Ali Trunzo, ’12, Director of Student Affairs. “Here’s the chance for us to pick something really cool.”

The senate will vote to narrow the options down to two at their meeting on Tuesday.

According to Trunzo, Parkhurst will hold a short trial for both options at the end of April.

“Right from the ground up, we’ve been trying to get students’ input,” said Michael Zanie, general manager of Parkhurst Dining. “If they support it, it has a much better chance of succeeding.”

The options aren’t without their drawbacks.

A community-supported agriculture drop site would offer fresh produce, but in bulk on a subscription basis.

“It wouldn’t be like, you could walk up and buy a zucchini,” said Trunzo. “It would be a commitment.”

Items would also be limited to whatever was in season at the time.

“A membership to weekly local produce would be amazing,” said Dana D’Amico, ’13, in a post on The Campus’s Facebook page. “Except when only lame vegetables are in season. (Looking at you, kale.)”

Freshens offers a variety of smoothie and yogurt options, but according to Zanie, the window was used to sell smoothies in the past and still flopped.

According to Trunzo, the recent Student Life Survey communicated a demand within the student body for cheaper options at McKinley’s, which a value window would fulfill.

However, she indicated that quality and customization of orders might suffer.

“Low-cost items aren’t going to necessarily be as tasty or awesome,” Trunzo said. “But there’s definitely a demand.”

But even if the value menu is voted down by the senate, it is still likely it may be implemented.

“The other thing they were thinking about doing was having a value option at each of the stations in McKinley’s,” said Trunzo. “It’s not like if the value line doesn’t get in the window that it’s not going to happen.”

But perhaps the most contentious proposition is putting a Starbucks in the location.

The Starbucks would have a limited menu, and would be worked by Parkhurst employees, but it would be an authentic Starbucks location that students could patronize with Munch money.

The problem is the coffee shop already in operation one floor above: Grounds for Change.

“There have been cases where a Starbucks and a campus coffee shop coexist on campuses,” said Trunzo, though she admitted that most of these examples occurred at larger schools.

“This is why we’re trying to have a much larger conversation about this with the campus community… but it’s really one of those things where you probably don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens.”

GFC president Heather Neylon, ’12, also expressed concern.

“[Starbucks has] Fair Trade certified products, but because they’re such a large corporation, that amount isn’t really progressive,” said Neylon, pointing out that only 3 percent of Starbucks products were Fair Trade. “I think it will take away from GFC as both a unique coffee shop and as a Fair Trade progressive shop.”

Despite the concerns, Starbucks remains a popular option among students.

“Starbucks,” said Bess Green, ’10, in a tweet directed at The Campus. “All day and everyday [sic]. #sorryGFC.”

ASG will vote to narrow the options at their meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Tillotson Room of the Tippie Alumni Center.