In such turbulent times, I like having a source of consistency in my life. This is why I like the section of the Student Assembly website entitled "college committees." Here, you can see a list of SA's committees, apply to one and even view your archived applications, if there are any. Whenever I am feeling down about a government failing a country because of cronyism and shortsightedness, I can just check archived applications and see the single most consistent thing in my life :
"Application to: DDS Advisory Committee on 02/14/05 - [Status: New]"
After writing an oped ("DDS vs. Common Sense," Nov. 23, 2004) about the ridiculous prices of food on campus last year and doing some follow-up investigative work, I found myself pretty interested in seeing some changes in the way DDS floats their proverbial ship of double burger deals on their proverbial sea of delicious Pass-o-Guava, so to speak. With a mind for change and a call for action, I filled out an application to be on the DDS Advisory Committee of SA. I filled it out on time and waited patiently for a response. I hoped SA would notice this dedication. Instead, the powers that be did not notice me at all, and my application has still never been read.
Let me go over some basics. Food at Dartmouth is expensive, as we all occasionally notice as we glance at the green numbers on the cash register before we thoughtlessly hand over our card over. The reasons for these prices, which many deem to be outrageously high, are numerous: Dartmouth firmly believes in paying its workers a living wage; DDS tries to buy local meat and produce whenever possible; the expense of keeping eating establishments open during fringe hours. Additionally, DDS spends about $40,000 every year replacing lost or stolen cups, silverware and trays.
Since DDS operates at cost, I know that every penny I spend goes back into making my future dining experiences more pleasurable, and I am therefore not as upset about the costs as others. What does, however, really grind my gears is when, at the end of every term, every cent that I have not spent is erased from my account and swallowed whole by DDS. The explanation for this theft is that DDS has a budget to which they must adhere, and they plan on you spending a certain amount over the course of a term. This, however, doesn't seem necessary.
Here is my plan: Don't take my money at the end of every term. Allow the money to roll over from term to term, until the end of, say, the Summer term. So, for example, if I buy a plan that is too big in the fall, I could purchase a smaller plan in the winter, and use it in addition to my remaining funds from fall. Allow the process to work itself out until the end of Summer term, at which time DDS can take my remainder. This way, each term's budget will still work itself out by the end of the fiscal year, and I won't have to buy Topside out of the gummy frogs and canned nuts that I did not really want anyway. While the overall pool of money that DDS would have to work with might end up being slightly smaller, they would still have the benefit of a firm budget as well as the added benefit of happier customers.