Post Classifieds

Students can sound off through SG’s secret shopper program

By Michael Gammo
On September 19, 2012

Students will have the opportunity this semester to rate their campus dining experience through a new initiative hosted by Student Government.

The Secret Shopper program, a student-driven initiative aimed at getting ideas for improving dining services, will be open to all students who wish to voice an opinion about dining on campus.

“Any student that uses a dining hall can take the survey and rate the quality of the food and if they liked anything else,” said SG Dining Liaison Elizabeth Greer.

A link to the survey will be available online through the Auxiliary Services page later this semester.

SG President Paulette Bongratz said the survey will evaluate things like food, service and cleanliness, as well as polling student suggestions.

In addition to rating dining hall experiences, students will also be able to comment on the selections and service of Provisions on Demand, also known as PODs.

Data from the surveys will be collected by the university’s IT department and analyzed by the dining committee which is composed of members in SG, Auxiliary Services, Aramark and Residence Life.

The online surveys will ask students to rank components of their dining experience as well as give space for students to write down their opinions and suggestions for menu items, food choices and service improvements.

“A big thing to remember is that we want to offer more options, not take anything away,” Bongratz said. “We are hoping students will ask for more specific healthy options that we could use to put changes in place.”

Bongratz and Greer said the secret shopper program has been at UT for several years and was originally started by SG and Auxiliary Services to give students a voice.

“A lot of people forget that the purpose of government is to represent the people and as Student Government we have to represent the students and what they feel,” said Dylan Clement, assistant dining liaison.

Dining committee members expressed the desire to give students eating in the dining halls the best possible experience, regardless of whether they had a meal plan.

Bongratz said the program resulted in positive changes to campus dining, which is why the program is being expanded to include even more student voices.

“I noticed direct changes to things I reported in my surveys, with regards to customer service, that were fixed by the next week or so,” said Ryan Beckwith, a secret shopper from last semester. “It wasn’t like we were tattling on people, but they took our suggestions to heart and made improvements.”

Secret shoppers were given a Rocket Dollar incentive for participating in the program.

“It was a good deal,” Beckwith said. “I mean I was surprised that they were even paying us to do that since it seemed like such an easy thing to do.”

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