A Town Hall Meeting is an excellent way for leaders to hear out the concerns of their community. Alcorn President, Dr. Felicia M. Nave, joined by Provost, Dr. Ontario Wooden and other department heads and directors gathered the Alcorn community of faculty and staff to discuss enhancements and concerns on campus.
The Town Hall took place on Tuesday, February 7th, at noon in the Clinton Bristow Jr. Dining Facility Gold Room. The main topics of the meeting were Sodexo and the technology issues on campus. With attendance from Student Government Association representatives, the Royal Court, and students, the topic of Sodexo was primarily discussed which left technology issues to be addressed in the next meeting.
Sodexo is the food services and facilities management company that Alcorn utilizes on campus. It employs the dining hall, W.O.W. Cafe, Starbucks, and Subconnection workers. The district manager of Sodexo, Charles Diggs, led a presentation that gave students and staff insight into what to expect from Sodexo in the coming months.
Diggs introduced the dining hall staff, including Executive Chef Richard Drummond and General Manager Joseph Barnes. This allowed the students to put a face behind the food. The three main topics covered in the presentation were menu enhancements, a Chick-fil-A addition, and meal plans. Menu enhancements such as fresh-rolled sushi, turkey wings, and salmon were brought to the discussion. The dining hall furniture renovation which will include more booths, high seats, and even telephone booths were also discussed. Per students’ requests, the addition of a Chick-fil-A on campus was also a highlight. Replacing W.O.W. Cafe in the Student Union, Chick-fil-A would be a perfect fit, but student meal plans would rise. Commuter students would see this change the most in their meal plans. The implementation of Chick-fil-A would take about six months, while the dining hall furniture renovation would take around six to nine months. Upon completion of Barnes’ acknowledgements, Dr. Nave resumed with the Q and A session.
Students expressed their concerns about a plethora of issues. Several items that were raised included implementing a shuttle service on campus, addressing leaking in buildings, issues with parking, issues with emergency services, long lines in the financial aid office, and the lack of funding for certain departments.
“We acknowledge it. We take ownership of it,” said Dr. Nave in response to questions asked about long lines in the financial aid offices. She urged students to register and pay their fees early to give the staff more time to accommodate them.
After the Town Hall, Dr. Nave met with students one-on-one to discuss their concerns more thoroughly. Thus far, the next Town Hall Meeting has not been announced.