New company takes over dining on campus

By Maria Monteros

For almost half a century, Trevecca students have only known one food provider. But last month, a new catering company took over to redefine university dining.

Over the summer, the president’s cabinet voted on Chartwells Dining Services to provide food for Trevecca students over Hallmark Management Service, Inc. and 45-year partner Pioneer College Caterers.

Chartwells, a company under food service giant Compass USA, was chosen based on finances, quality and potential employment for student workers, said Trevecca President Dan Boone. Chartwells currently serves 280 campuses nationwide.

“I think it’s really important for us to have a food service provider that meets the modern college student’s needs,” said Jessica Dykes, associate vice president and dean of student development. “[Chartwells] have a different approach to dining on college campuses than our previous provider, whom we had a great partnership with, but they just weren’t able to keep up, I believe, with what our campus really needed moving forward.”

The university has been considering new caterers since fall last year after repeated complaints about the quality and lack of food options for vegetarians, students with allergies and commuters. Officials intended to finalize decisions before May graduation, but after hiring a consultant, they opted to review contract agreements causing the staff to adjust immediately to both the students and campus at the same time, Boone said.

Chartwells began reconstruction on Aug. 1— just a few weeks before classes started. It took only 12 days for the company to replace carpets, repaint and introduce a new menu.

“I’ll admit, this is a transition that I wish could have happened in May,” Boone said. “We would rather go with the right decision taking a little longer than make the wrong decision and have to turn around and do this all over again a year or two from now.”

Trevecca’s recent Form 990 listed Pioneer’s contract at $1.2 million. The TrevEchoes reached out to Mariano Monzu, Trevecca’s chief financial officer, to obtain the price of Chartwells’ contract but did not receive a response.

Boone says the company’s operations cost more than Pioneer’s.

“[Chartwells’] expense, it was a little ahead of where Pioneer’s had been,” said Boone. “We actually budgeted extra money this year to just basically get them in and let them give us a taste of what it is that they can do.”

The price of meal plans increased this year to $2,225 from $2,100 per semester last year for a full plan and $580 from $549 for commuter students, according to Trevecca’s “My Plan to Pay Worksheet.” The employee meal plan also hiked to $5 from $3 per meal.

“A lot of that does have to do with our fresh food. Produce and meats is one of the highest cost items out there. And with that, we have a lot more offerings,” said Matthew Highley, director of dining services. “Fortunately and unfortunately, we’re going into 2020 and the dollar menus have gone away.”

With a swipe of their IDs, a full plan this year could afford students four meals from either the cafeteria, The Hub, The Cube or 1901, a coffee shop on campus. Students say they were able to swipe their IDs as many times as they wanted last year.

Students can send feedback on the tablet located at the cafeteria, but some students prefer to share their comments to Marina Yousef, student body president, and Erica Wigart, sophomore class president, verbally.

“[Students] haven’t been sugarcoating it, they’ve been honest, they’ve been forward,” Yousef said.

Students often complained about long lines throughout every section of the cafeteria, said Wigart. A station in the cafeteria called “the demo line” has the longest wait because most of “the meat” was there, she says.

The staff distributes food items themselves during certain times of the day. Some students say they don’t receive the meal portions the want. Highley says it’s meant to foster interaction with students and staff.

Chartwells plans to use their first few months on campus to monitor the flow of traffic in the cafeteria.

“It’s important for students to realize that you’ve got to give them a little bit of a grace time,” said Wigart, who was a member of the food committee. “They’re still trying to understand the volumes that come in the caf at what times, what food people like.”

However, students have also noticed improvements in the quality and overall sanitation of the dining halls, said Yousef. Both Yousef and Wigart agree that Chartwells has offered more variety in food options— a common complaint from students in previous years.

Commuters can now use their meal plans during dinner times as opposed to only breakfast and lunch last year, says Yenin Echeverria, commuter council president. She says the dinner option motivates commuters to “spend all day on campus” and “have the college experience.”

Yousef, a commuter herself, enrolled on a meal plan for the first time this year.

“Students should know that student government is working on this right now,” said Yousef, adding that students can reach out to class representatives for feedback.

Trevecca’s initial plan was to better coordinate multiple eating venues, increase seating capacity and follow a “food court” concept for the cafeteria, says Boone. Architects from both Compass USA and Trevecca are working together to finalize plans for updates within the coming months.

Undergrad enrollment breaks record again

By Kayla Williamson

Traditional undergraduate student enrollment at Trevecca broke a record-again.

For the past six years traditional undergraduate student numbers have continued to break records. Last year, numbers increased by nearly 3%. This year, they increased by 5%.

This fall, 1,433 students enrolled at Trevecca. In fall of 2018 Trevecca had a total of 1,361 students.

“It’s one of those things where Trevecca has seen some dramatic growth over the last few years, and it’s something exciting to be around,” said Tom Middendorf, university provost.

Efforts are not stopping there. For the fall of 2020, the admissions team is looking for at least 400 for freshman enrollment, says Melinda Miller, executive director of undergraduate admissions. There were 392 Freshman undergraduate this year. They also plan to maintain the 85 transfer students from last year.

Having continuous growth is a positive challenge, Middendorf and Miller both agreed. While recruitment efforts bring and keep students in, it’s a challenge to make sure Trevecca’s infrastructure can hold everyone. Infrastructure ranges from housing, chapel, the cafeteria, classroom space and more.

“Having to be concerned about having on-campus housing space for all of our students is a wonderful challenge to have,” Miller said. “For a university like Trevecca, where nationwide universities similar to us are struggling to grow, we have grown so much that we filled our housing. That’s an amazing challenge to be faced with.”

Middendorf and Miller said there are three main reasons why students keep coming to Trevecca: A strong sense of community, being in the heart of Nashville, and a nurturing team of professors, faculty and staff.

“I think we’ve got wonderful human beings as our faculty, our staff, our administration,” Middendorf said. “There’s something enticing about coming to an institution where it’s hospitable and you have this sense of belonging.”

The marketing team has also played a major part in recruiting students, Miller says. Their emphasis on Nashville being a huge city, and Trevecca being a small community, is part of the appeal for some students, she says.

“We have an amazing marketing team, and our marketing team works together with our enrollment team to really showcase Trevecca as a university,” Miller said. “One of the main things we focus on is the fact that Trevecca is in Nashville, literally one mile from downtown.”

The Trevecca community, which Middendorf said is unique and unapologetically Christian, is another reason that students come to the university. Students, he says, don’t just want an impact on the mind, but they also want to be focused on individually and holistically.

“I do think there’s a real interest in that,” Middendorf said. “They want something authentic and real. They want to be more than a number, and they want to get more than just a piece of paper to use to get a job one day. I think they want to be impacted as whole individuals.”

As for now, Middendorf said he and his team are making plans to expand Trevecca’s growth. More information will be available in the future.

“There are conversations right now about future building projects,” Middendorf said. “We are discussing some exciting future opportunities for Trevecca along this line.”

 

Town hall monthly meetings set to return to campus this fall

By Marcela Castro Carias

SGA will be hosting town hall meetings again this year, beginning Oct. 16.

“Town hall meetings are an opportunity for students to ask questions to administrators or other key people on campus, and also give administrators the opportunity to give word out of different things that are going on,” said Matthew Spraker, associate dean of students.

The reestablishment of the town hall meetings was a completely “student led initiative” by the SGA board, All Student Body President Marina Yousef and Vice President Stephanie Ordóñez, Spraker said.

“It’s hard for us [students] to get a grasp and understanding of what’s really happening when we don’t have communication to the people up top,” Marina Yousef said.

Yousef hopes the meetings will create transparency and “an opportunity to just ask [administrators] instead of being worried about something. To ask about what’s happening, why it’s happening and what will happen.”

“What I hope to achieve is people feeling like their voice is heard on campus. I hope that they see that their needs are being met and concerns heard,” Yousef said. “I hope people feel the transparency. We are a community that’s open and loving… We’re just here to serve.”

SGA will choose a monthly theme based on what is going on at the time and what people are the most interested, curious or concerned about.

The meetings will be in the lobby of Jernigan Student Center one Wednesday of every month from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Yousef wanted a place where there is a high flow of people that could see the meetings and stay if they had questions. Students can come and go as they wish but are highly encouraged to stay for the whole event.

“Trevecca hosted these for decades throughout the years, [this year and last year’s] SGA decided to have a monthly meeting where students can keep open channels of communication with administration,” Spraker said.

Dinner will be provided for commuters who stay during the meeting through to campus events.

“We partnered up with Zack Church and he’s creating an event every time there’s a town hall meeting so there’s not only one reason for them to stay. If he cannot make any event at that time, we’re going to cover the cost for commuters to eat at the caf,” Yousef said.

SGA and faculty have come together for the creation of this monthly event and have high hopes concerning results.

“What I hope to achieve is people feeling like their voice is heard in campus, I hope that they see that their needs are being met and concerns heard,” Yousef said. “I hope people feel the transparency. We are a community that’s open and loving… We’re just here to serve.”

town hall meeting document

Graphic by Naomi Overby

Spiritual Deepening Week Starts Today

By Lily Russell

Trevecca’s new chaplain, Erik Gernand, is hosting this year’s spiritual deepening week on Sept. 16-19.

“Spiritual Deepening week is a time to intentionally set some time aside, and in the midst of our busy schedule, turn our attention and hearts to God and give God some extra space in our life to do some things that we may not always have time or attention to lean into,” Gernand said.

The theme for this year is “In the Name of Jesus”. According to Gernand, the theme was inspired by Colossians 3:17 and Philippians 2:5-11.

With professors being encouraged to limit tests and large assignments, spiritual deepening week has become a staple in Trevecca’s schedule.

“We want to create a space for God to do significant work. …Trevecca’s about the holistic development of our students,” Gernand said.

Referring to Spiritual Deepening week as an “old school revival,” Gernand said it is an important time in the school year for all students and community members of Trevecca.

Stephanie Hansen, all student body chaplain, said she is looking forward to Gernand’s first time hosting spiritual deepening week.

“Erik and his wife Ashley have just been so involved with students and their spiritual life,” Stephanie Hansen said. “You can go into the cafeteria and Erik will sit and talk with you.”

Gernand said he hopes the week will be a time for all to empty themselves and let God enter in. He also hopes the week will help students build “a love for Jesus and a desire to have the shape of our life be in harmony with his.”

He is looking forward to sharing his message.

“Every chance I get I like talking about Jesus,” Gernand said.

Spiritual deepening week schedule:

Monday 6 p.m.

Tuesday 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Thursday 9:30 a.m.

More facilities needed for more athletes

By Kallie Sohm

 With the announcement that Trevecca officials want to add up to 150 more athletes comes the question of how the campus will accommodate them with adequate practice and competition facilities.

“The number one obstacle to this [adding one or two junior varsity teams and club sports each year] is our current gymnasium,” said Dan Boone, university president.

Boone said there is a plan for expanding and improving Moore Gymnasium, but there are currently no funds or donors for the approximately $12 million project. Continue reading More facilities needed for more athletes

SAAC president works overtime

By Miriam Kirk

Adi Hale, a senior majoring in social work, came to Trevecca because she had the opportunity to play basketball and be the first in her family to earn a college degree. She didn’t think she would become the president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the first African American president at that.

“I’m honored to be the first African American president of SAAC. With Trevecca making this push to be inclusive of all ethnicities I feel that it’s accurate that we have an African American leading the SAAC committee,” Hale said. Continue reading SAAC president works overtime

New University Chaplain selected

By Brooklyn Dance

Trevecca’s new chaplain will come to campus with 17 years of experience as a church pastor and a desire to minister to college aged students.

Erick Gernand, currently the pastor of Real Life Community Church of the Nazarene in Murfreesboro, will be Trevecca’s new chaplain.

“Ashley and I have spent quite a bit of our ministry working with young adults and college students, so we’ll be with an age group and season of life that we love. I love the kinds of questions and exploration of faith that generally happens in these years,” he said. Continue reading New University Chaplain selected

Trevecca considering new food providers

By Matthew Parris

After 45 years of service, Trevecca is reevaluating its contract with Pioneer College Caterers, and hopes to decide before graduation whether it will continue with them or choose a new provider.

“Pioneer, when they first came in, it was a new opportunity for Trevecca,” said David Caldwell, executive vice president for administration and finance. “I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that over the years, they have provided a lot of benefits to the school. I just think that now, with student tastes and expectations changing, it makes sense to see what options are out there.” Continue reading Trevecca considering new food providers

Retention Rates for African-American students lower than rest of student body

By Kayla Williamson

 Around one-third of African American students who start college at Trevecca end up graduating from the university, compared to 57 percent of white students.

According to an NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) report signed by President Dan Boone, African Americans have the lowest graduation rates compared to other races. Graduation rates are the percentage of students that finish their degree within six years.

The most recent graduation rates for African American undergraduate students are 32 percent. Asian students have a graduation rate of 33 percent, and white students have a graduation rate of 57 percent. Overall, Trevecca has a graduation rate of 54 percent. Continue reading Retention Rates for African-American students lower than rest of student body

Students and faculty prepare to spend summer abroad

By Joshua Michel

It has been 20 years since Kathy Mowry, professor of intercultural studies and Christian education, and her husband Jon were missionaries in Ukraine. This summer, the Mowry’s will return to Kyiv leading a TAG trip, where for two weeks they will work with youth and children’s ministries at a local Nazarene church. Continue reading Students and faculty prepare to spend summer abroad