Food and drink are not just consumables, they are the pillars of nourishment that can dictate a students’ ability to achieve their very best while at the University of Sydney. Currently most of the food and drink services provided at Usyd are provided by the USU. They do an admirable job, but providing food and drink that meets the needs of a diverse student cohort is an extremely difficult task. And we are hearing regularly from students that they are not satisfied with what they have access to on campus.
Many students contact SUPRA telling us about the lack of accessible, good quality and culturally appropriate food on University of Sydney campuses. In the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) Survey 2022 which surveyed all students across all campuses, food and drink services were in the top 2 ranked priority areas for students. In this survey students also noted the need for improvement around the provision of food and drinks on campus including the need to make food and drink cheaper, healthier, with greater variety of culturally appropriate options, and catering to a wider variety of dietary needs. Students also noted that there needs to be greater focus on the food and drink provided at satellite campuses.
After the survey was released, SUPRA highlighted this issue to the University and called for change through the Student Consultative Committee and the Senate Student Panel, as well as with various other stakeholders, in an attempt to address the matter. There is a consensus among students and staff that urgent improvements are needed. However, there is still a lack of direction or a mechanism to direct this issue at the University. Given that the University community consists of more than 70 000 people, it is challenging to achieve significant progress on this issue without a clear and permanent institutional structure to consult, plan, organise and enact changes.
SUPRA is calling on the University to form a Food and Drink Committee to actively plan and guide improvements to the food and drinks provided on campus. This Committee should include representatives from the USU, student organisations like SUPRA and the SRC, the University Executive, and from other relevant areas such as infrastructure. This Committee should lead the University’s move towards better, cheaper and more accessible food and drink on campus.
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