The Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee spent its Monday meeting discussing answers to the question vendors have asked the group at each of its last three meetings—how do students want to receive dining information?

The owners of Red Mango, The Loop and Divinity Café have each visited DUSDAC in the last three weeks, bringing food samples and questions for the committee's members. One issue that all the owners shared was an uncertainty about how to deliver information to students effectively.

“Every vendor we’ve talked to—and probably every vendor on campus—wants to know how they can communicate with students,” said Brian Taylor, Trinity ’16 and DUSDAC chair. “That’s like the universal problem for a restaurant, so we get to try to figure out how to do that.”

Junior Olivia Deitcher mentioned the possibility of creating a website containing the vendors’ advertisements and menus that allowed sorting by price.

Vendors could also send an information blast to students like Dean Steve Nowicki’s “The Short List” or Duke Student Government’s weekly emails, said junior Julia Medine.

“In my mind, [there is] an opportunity to create something that focuses specifically on this type of communication,” she said.

Instead of sending the email to all students, DUSDAC would use groups such as the “All Duke” Facebook page and Fix My Campus to get students to sign up for it. The long-term goal, Medine explained, would be for the blasts to become institutionalized and sent to all students.

Before moving forward with any of the ideas, however, DUSDAC decided to create a short survey for students to fill out, which will ask how they would like to receive dining information and whether a regular email blast would be beneficial.

For the rest of the year, DUSDAC will be split into two project groups to prepare for the food truck rodeo and continue working on campus vendor communications. Junior Quinn Steven, a liaison to Duke Dining from Fix My Campus, will be leading the group on the rodeo, while Medine will be in charge of the group for communicating with Duke’s vendors.

Taylor informed the committee that they have reserved a location for the annual food truck event, which will be held in the Kilgo Lot near the new Student Health and Wellness Center where food trucks regularly park now.

Taylor raised the question of how many food trucks the lot could hold, considering its small size. Aris Marton, assistant director of retail operations for Duke Dining, said the lot should be able to fit five or six trucks, depending on the trucks' use of trailers.

“In the past, we’ve done the ones that are already on campus and three to five favorite other ones,” Taylor said. “Given the size limitations, we may cut out some of the ones that are already on campus that we know are well-loved.”

Taylor noted that DUSDAC will be following the same system for the event as in previous years—every student who signs up for the rodeo receives $10 and all the trucks will be asked to have smaller items available at the three to four-dollar price mark to enable students to try multiple trucks.

In other business:

Members brought up a handful of issues from the Fix My Campus Facebook page, including a request to update the menus on Student Affairs’ “Venues, Menus and Hours” page and a complaint of undercooked rice at some West Union eateries.

Robert Coffey, director of dining services, said that the pilot program for online ordering at Dame’s is scheduled to begin after Spring Break. He also encouraged DUSDAC members to attend the six-week cooking class that the Chef’s Kitchen will begin hosting in late March.