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DUSDAC considers Merchants on Points additions

Students may soon have more options for ordering on food points.

At its meeting Monday night, members of the Duke University Student Dining Advisory Committee sampled food from Backyard BBQ Pit, a potential addition to the Merchants on Points program and a family-owned restaurant offering authentic barbecue and homemade sides. The group also introduced a possible future collaboration with Campus Council.

Members raised concerns that Backyard BBQ might be too similar to Tommy’s Rubs and Grubs, which is already on campus and a part of the MOP program. Six of 10 members approved the restaurant’s proposal with the condition that it agrees to stay open until midnight Monday through Saturday. DUSDAC will contact the eatery about changing its hours before making its final decision.

Red Sea Fish and Chicken also submitted samples to DUSDAC for consideration to join the MOP program. Members were once again concerned that there would be little demand for this type of eatery, which serves mostly fried fare.

“One thing that I think would be good is if they delivered until 4 a.m., then I’d be much more encouraged to maybe bring this on,” said DUSDAC Co-chair Jason Taylor, a senior. “Considering that, and all the other merchants we’ve been adding recently and the others we have... I don’t think that, because of volume reasons, this is the best place to let on right now.”

Other members agreed, and Red Sea Fish and Chicken received only one vote of approval.

Campus Council President Stephen Temple, a junior, proposed the addition of a Campus Council liaison to DUSDAC to facilitate dialogue and serve as an informational link between the two organizations. The liaison would look for opportunities where Campus Council and DUSDAC could partner together to provide a more unified voice to the administration.

If DUSDAC votes to approve the proposal, the liaison would be a current voting member of Campus Council and would have to receive a majority vote from the Campus Council General Body to be approved as the liaison.

“The impetus for creating such a position initially came out of conversations at the end of last year between myself and Sarah Ramig [T’09 and former DUSDAC co-chair] as well as some informal conversations with [Vice President for Student Affairs] Larry Moneta.... Dining is an integral part of living on campus,” Temple wrote in his proposal.

Temple added that this partnership would be mutually beneficial, as Campus Council would be more informed and DUSDAC would have a stronger student voice and the backing of a “residential viewpoint on things.”

DUSDAC members were concerned that there would be no flexibility with the arrangement and postponed a vote on the proposal until next week to maintain its control over the decision.

The student dining committee also announced it will send out a questionnaire this week surveying students about certain vendors in the MOP program. The survey is intended to gauge student opinion regarding their interest in lower volume locations in the event that an on-campus vendor is considered for removal.

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