Springs of Water and Ketchup

7.02.2024 | Canteen, Dorms, Sustainability

Last week, the student representatives held this semester’s meeting with the Studierendenwerk Würzburg. These were the topics.

The cafeteria in the canteen on Feldkirchenstraße has rarely been so full. Over twenty representatives of the Student Council met last Tuesday to talk to the management of the Studierendenwerk Würzburg. They discussed the dorms, the canteens and the CAMPUSdirekt platform. We are optimistic about the next semester.

A nicer place to live

With the completion of the renovation of the hall of residence in Pestalozzistraße, a number of concerns were raised by students regarding the locking system, air extractors and moving into the new building sections. The student representatives passed these on to the management of the Studierendenwerk and received promising answers. The newest apartments should be ready for occupancy from April 2024.

Deficiencies that already exist in the newer construction phases will also be taken care of. Anyone who despairs about the volume of their ventilation system can also be helped quickly: A quick report to the caretaker, a few simple steps and the situation should improve. With regard to concerns about the new key system, which works with induction, it was said that it would take some getting used to, but that this should improve over time.

More sustainability and transparency in the canteen

The main part of the discussion once again centred on the topic of catering. The student parliament’s demand for ketchup dispensers instead of portion packs was discussed again. There were no plans to implement this yet, but the request would be taken up again. A much more fundamental request was made for water dispensers in the dining halls, but the Studierendenwerk expressed concerns about its drinks sales. The extent to which the loss of income from the sale of drinks, or more precisely water bottles, would affect turnover is to be evaluated in future. If necessary, a pilot project with water dispensers would then be conceivable.

The survey on the use of the canteen conducted by the SOWI Student Council at the beginning of the year could be helpful here. The survey covered questions about food preferences, drinks consumption, but also other topics such as the amount students would be willing to pay for their lunch. You will find the results on this blog shortly.

In general, the student representatives expressed a desire for more transparency in the Studierendenwerk’s catering facilities. A list of suppliers that is publicly accessible could be the first step in this direction. It would also be interesting to be able to understand the calculation of prices for meals in the canteens and cafeterias, which is probably based on the purchase of goods. Reliable labelling of allergens, which could also be viewed online for desserts, for example, was also requested. All of these things are to be implemented in the new Studierendenwerk website. An elegant way of sharing your favourite recipes is also to be created. QR codes at the Mensa locations could make it easy and efficient to share recipe ideas. We are looking forward to the new website and the next semester!

In addition to representatives from the Student Councils and political university groups, the ecology working group also took part in the discussion and raised a number of concerns about sustainability. In addition to an expansion of vegan options during the University of Bamberg’s Sustainability Month, the concept of the “Mensa Revolution” was also addressed. The campaign, which is in favour of a sustainable transformation of canteens, is currently being considered by Deutsches Studierendenwerk (DSW). Should the DSW adopt a position on this, the Studierendenwerk Würzburg, which itself already fulfils many points of the strategy, would also be included. The introduction of a rebowl system was also discussed, as was the disposal of surplus dishes through concepts such as “Too good to go”. The reusable boxes will already be available in the new semester. Whether a model can be found for surplus food after 2 p.m., for example, will have to be discussed with the new head of the Studierendenwerk.

Trouble with land utilisation fees

As in the last discussion, the CAMPUSDirekt platform was once again a topic of discussion. This platform manages leased areas on behalf of the Studierendenwerk Würzburg – such as the areas in front of the Bamberg canteens. The student representatives noted that the student councils in particular had problems using these areas to sell tickets for their events. Contrary to the Studierendenwerk’s assurance that student initiatives can use the areas free of charge, there have recently been an increasing number of cases in which the platform has demanded high fees. The Studierendenwerk promised to look into this.