SGA, Hillel push for specialty dining facility

By Carleton Atwater

With a diverse student body on Northeastern’s campus, the university is constantly trying to come up with ways to accommodate the needs of students. The Student Government Association (SGA) and Hillel, the Jewish student group on campus, are working to establish a specialty dining facility that will include kosher, vegetarian and vegan meals, among others.

Currently there are very limited options for individuals that wish to keep kosher at the dinning halls. This is a problem for freshmen living on campus who are required to have a meal plan.

“Right now, the only thing that is offered is frozen dinners and they are not very tasty,” said Eliana Levine, a senior journalism major. “This is an extremely important issue because, for many students, what they eat defines who they are as a person. Right now, the school is not fulfilling this need.”

Molly Simpson, a sophomore business major and the vice president of finance for Hillel, emphasized this dining facility would not be solely for Jewish students.

“This is about all of Northeastern coming together. We also want to accommodate the needs of Muslim students as well, who have dietary guidelines of their own, known as Hillel. Kosher and Hillel have very similar guidelines and it would not take very much to provide for them both,” Simpson said.

Levine and Simpson both emphasized that a special dining hall would be a wonderful way for Northeastern to be a part of the community.

“Northeastern is one of the biggest universities in the Back Bay area and this facility could be open to everyone in addition to NU students,” Levine said. “I think NU has made it clear they wish to be open to its neighbors, with its new SquashBusters facility for example. The school could also turn this facility into profit, as much of the community would probably partake in it as well.”

Levine said opening this facility would not be a tremendous expense for the university.

“Right now, the school is in a period of growth and there is money out there. We have spoken to many top university officials who have expressed interest in our project. There are also already facilities that could possibly be used for our needs, such as the Speare cafeteria,” Levine said.

Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Larry Mucciolo said that the university is interested in the project, but it will depend on the student need.

“In principle, we’d like to do it,” Mucciolo said. “I think the question is whether or not there is sufficient demand for the particular kind of program that they want.”

Although both Simpson and Levine were optimistic about the future, they said the facility would probably not open for many more years.

Currently, Levine is conducting data on the exact demand for such a program. There is an online poll being conducted on myNEU Central and Levine urged students to log on and participate in the poll.

“So far there has been a really positive response from the polling that we have done,” Levine said.

Mucciolo said that the administration is responsive to the polling.

“I know that there is some work that had been done trying to identify some options,” Mucciolo said. “If we can provide something that matches and fits [the need], we will.”

Kate Healy, a sophomore undecided, said the facility is a good idea.

“Northeastern should accommodate every student’s eating habits, especially for how much we are paying to attend this school,” Healy said. “I’m pretty sure that there are a lot of people who are vegetarians and what not that go here.”

Ryan Kelley, a sophomore marketing major, said he agrees.

“The university should probably cater to the needs of special needs students. Jewish students have just as much of a right to eat kosher as I do to eat pork. I’m not in favor of forcing the entire school to pay extra though, we pay enough already,” Kelley said.