SGA Hosts “Falcon Talks” with Faculty

Meaghan Walsh, Staff Writer, Layout Editor

On October 26 at 7 p.m., Fitchburg State University’s Student Government Association (SGA) hosted an event titled “Falcon Talks” in the Hammond Main Lounge. This event served as an avenue for students to chat with faculty about current issues on campus that they are passionate about. The faculty in attendance at this meeting were Dr. Laura Bayless, Dr. Laura Garofoli, Eric Gregoire, Dr. Hank Parkinson, Allison Whitney, Jeff Mcvoy, and Jay Bry. There were a few students in attendance, all with questions about issues they saw on campus. 


A lot of these questions were about Holmes Dining Hall, lovingly known by students across campus as “Daka”. A student raised the question about the Dine on Campus app not being up to date recently and asked if this would be fixed soon. Jeff Mcvoy, the Food Service Director at Fitchburg State, said that this has been because the dining hall’s food supplier, Sysco, had been on strike since September 28, 2022. Around 230 union members made up of warehouse workers and drivers at a Sysco Syracuse warehouse went on strike over unfair labor practices, unsolved practices, and unfair wages. The strike ended over two weeks later on October 17th, 2022, after the employees and Sysco were able to come to an agreement on a new contract. Mcvoy said that during that period of time when the strike was actively ongoing, menus were what they could find. “We never knew when your next delivery was coming,” he said. 


Another question that stood out that night was also about the dining hall and dining services. When planning an event as a club any food that one might request has to be through Chartwell’s Dining Services, Fitchburg State’s provider of choice for food service. For cultural events where students may want culturally authentic food, this can be a struggle. Students can fill out a Food Waiver, but sometimes those don’t get approved. “I don’t want to be the big bad corporate monster that’s standing in your way,” said Mcvoy. He asks that students come to him first. 


Another student asked if the university was actively looking for new professors or if they were working with what they had. As said by Dr. Laura Garofoli, “Unfortunately we’re spread so thin.” 


One student had a question in regard to Housing and Residential Services and Disability Services. They said they had an accommodation through Disability Services that would affect where they are placed within residence halls on campus, but because they were going abroad, this accommodation was ignored. They asked if this could be fixed somehow. Dr. Laura Bayless, who is the Vice President for Student Affairs and interim Co-lead of Housing and Residential Services, replied that this should not have happened and that they should talk with Disability Services about this as soon as possible. 


The last question of the night was actually from Dr. Bayless. She asked the students in attendance what they wanted Fitchburg State to get their “act together” on. Students answered with the consistency of the shuttles, more people of color in our faculty and more younger people as well, and the inconvenience of the dining hall hours. The meeting ended shorty after, so some of these topics weren’t explored as others were during the meeting.