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Changes in the Student Cafeterias
[ Issue 116 Page 10 ] Wednesday, October 17, 2012, 12:24:39 Ah Hyun Kim ahhyunk@hanmail.net

Some people tend to feel uncomfortable with changes, as they do not always make the situation better. This fear of uncertainty struck the KAIST community as there have been mass transitions in student cafeterias. More than half of the food corners in the cafeterias situated north of the campus have changed during the summer break. Mostly there were changes in the suppliers followed by the launching of a new brand. The changes were inevitable as the contracts were expiring for most of the food corners. To prepare for the better contract, the Undergraduate Student Council executed a survey during the lsat spring semester about the renewal of cafeteria contracts. It was an effort to accommodate the undergraduate students’ preferences and opinions as much as possible. The result of the survey was then taken into consideration by the Graduate Student Association and the Cafeteria Monitoring Committee before making the final changes.

Despite efforts made by the Student Council, most students are unhappy about the changes in student cafeterias. At first, the students were unhappy with the quality of the food, and then later got even more frustrated with the price they have to pay. This leads students to question the meaning of the contract as the change made the matters worse. Some students even suspect whether the contracts and selection of suppliers were done in a fair way.

The dissatisfaction of the changes in student cafeterias seems to rise from the unmet expectations that after the change, the food service will get better. There still were major complaints that was in need of an urgent solution. However, even after the change, these problems have remained the same. For instance, the excessive use of artificial flavor enhancers in certain food corners has been triggering distrust among students. These complaints have not been improved even with the major changes in cafeteria. The fact that there were changes that did not solve the existing problems frustrated the students. This made the effort of executing the survey to seem wasteful. What is the point of asking students’ opinions and comments if they are not taken into consideration?

The lack of a proper explanation about the final decisions also made many students wonder about the changes. Students were especially let down when they found out that Burger King was to be replaced by Lotteria. As the news spread fast among the students, many posted comments on social networking sites asking why the change was necessary. Valid excuses for the change seem necessary to convince the students. Also, with explanations, students’ doubts about the fairness of the contracts can be dissipated too.

It is not that all the changes in the cafeterias are bad. Some changes really did satisfy the students. However, it is important to evaluate the changed situations objectively and try to improve what can be fixed. As food is one of the most critical issues for students, it is crucial to work towards increasing their satisfaction.

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