Dennis Pierce, executive director of dining services, spoke about the dining satisfaction survey sent to University of Connecticut Storrs students on Monday.
Pierce said he first approached the marketing department about this survey several months ago. He said the survey’s primary purpose was to gather student opinions for changes to be made for the spring semester.
“A couple months back, I had approached our marketing department who handles surveys and said, ‘We need to be able to capture from the existing population information so that we can reflect on the information that we received, and then subsequently, if possible, make changes for the spring,’” Pierce said.
Pierce said they often find value in the survey by learning if they’re meeting the needs of the student body. Additionally, he said these surveys inform some students about things they did not know they could do.
“Whenever we do these surveys, we find out specifically… it tells us ‘Are we meeting students with dietary needs?’ Some people we find out through these surveys [are] like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know I could do that,’” Pierce said.
Part of this, Pierce said, comes from an inability to get in contact with the entirety of the student body. Pierce pointed out that some students can be reached via email, while others need to be reached through other avenues like social media instead.
“There isn’t a good way to communicate to students because, you know, they’ll read social media but they won’t read emails. Some will read The Daily Campus and some won’t. We don’t have a definitive mechanism for communication that we’re 100% sure that students are getting the information that we’re sending them.”
One particular example Pierce provided was the usage of flex passes at certain university kiosks. He said it was challenging to get information like this to the entirety of the student body.
“What we did find out is that some students said, ‘Oh, I didn’t know I can use flex passes in the Kiosk at the Student Union,’ and so, it’s that challenge of getting the information out.”
Pierce said he hopes students will offer their perspectives on what dining services have done well and what they have done poorly. He said this will give them the opportunity to make meaningful changes for the upcoming semester.
“In the end, it’s like, tell us what your thoughts are, you know, because ‘What could we do right’ is kind of an open-ended question,” Pierce said. “‘What did we do right’ and ‘What did we do wrong,’ and so we used that quite heavily to build our plans for the spring because there’s still an opportunity for us to be able to work on menu items and such like that.”