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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Hi! My name is Hannah Jenkins, and I am one of the copy editors here at the North Wind. I am a sophomore at NMU, and I love all things writing and editing-related. I am proud to be a part of this great...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

TIMES ARE CHANGING — FAFSA announced changes to its filing system in February.
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North Wind Editorial BoardFebruary 27, 2024

Dining facilities to undergo renovations

This fall, students enjoying a meal at one of NMU’s two cafeterias will notice a couple of changes in their dining experience.

Both the Wildcat Den and the Marketplace will be going through renovations this summer to help accommodate a completely trayless policy at the Marketplace and a new all you can eat menu at the Wildcat Den.

Changes in the layout of the Wildcat Den will include a new entry to facilitate their new menu. Previously, customers at the Wildcat Den had the option to purchase each food item à la carte, as one would in a sit down restaurant.

To accommodate those who like to purchase à la carte, Dining Services will set up a food cart in the NMU bookstore this fall where students can buy premade sandwiches, salads and a hot entrée, said Greg Minner, the Director of Dining Services. A similar cart will be added to Jamrich hall in the fall that will offer coffee as well as premade sandwiches, he said. Both of these locations will accept dining dollars.

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Renovations taking place at the Marketplace and the Wildcat Den (pictured above) are aimed at keeping costs down by deterring shoplifting. The Marketplace and the Den are also implementing a tray-free system. // Ashley Wiggins/NW

“Students will still be able to buy à la carte in these locations. We’re trying to make sure there are plenty of options open to students,” Minner said.

The à la carte policy works well for some, but it has also lead to problems with food theft in the Den, he said.

“There are many people who like to buy à la carte, but we have been having a lot of theft problems with having (the Wildcat Den) so open,” he said.

Customers were often able to slip past the register without paying because of the confusion that goes along with having both an all-you-can-eat plan and an à la carte plan in the same facility, said Art Gischia, the associate vice president of business. Gischia is responsible for the Wildcat Den’s budget each year and has seen monetary losses related to possible theft at the Wildcat Den.

“We’re watching our food costs closely. We’re using a lot more food than we’re getting paid for,” Gischia said.

Structural renovations will also be made in the Marketplace, which will also be closing the two entrances to the Gant/Spalding and Payne/Halverson lobbies and constructing a single entrance inside the hallway connecting the two buildings.

Bids for construction on the renovations were open on Friday, May 28 to local construction companies. Closner Construction won the lowest bid at a cost of $307,610 with a projected completion date in late august. Closner Construction has already worked on several projects at NMU, including brick and masonry work in the New Science Facility and the Art and Design Building, Gischia said.

The new entrance will still have two cash registers, but only one of them will be open during slow hours, said Sharon Carey, the assistant director of dining services in charge of the Marketplace. This will help keep labor costs down and allow for better control over the register areas.

The Marketplace will also be going completely trayless this fall, with an exception made for students with disabilities.

“We won’t refuse anyone trays, but they won’t be out. Students will have to ask a staff member if they need a tray,” said Carey.

To meet the requirements of students accustomed to using trays, the drink stations will be moved out into the dining area for ease of access, she said

“Over the last academic year, more and more people are going trayless. We have to become more concerned environmentally,” Carey said.

Trayless initiatives by Dining Services have been met with some opposition in the past, but surveys done by the Go Green Committee in the past year have shown that students are now ready for change, she said.

“Our employees already hardly ever use trays. It’s been a big improvement. We have to be more concerned environmentally,” Carey said.

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