The MSG Winter Forum took place on Feb. 1 to give all members of the Mercyhurst community an opportunity to meet with staff and administrators to ask questions and voice concerns.
To begin, Mercyhurst Student Government President Jonah Jackson introduced the purpose of the event and the staff panel to which queries could be placed.
The panel consisted of Dean Schoenfeldt, senior general manager for Parkhurst Dining; Katie Boyd, director of Board Operations for Parkhurst at Mercyhurst; and David P. Myron, vice president for Finance and Administration. The floor was opened for students to raise their issues.
Foremost was the question of Ryan Hall and what it will bring to campus next year.
“We’re not going to match the Grotto,” said Schoenfeldt. “We’re going to use Ryan Hall to enhance the board program there. The new equipment is going to give us the tools to do something different and make something really exciting out of that space.”
Students were delighted to hear that it will have a board hall facility similar to that of Egan, with an all-you-care-to-eat full service food area, salad bar and dessert nook. The new dining facility will also feature different cooking equipment such as a rotisserie, a char griller, a wok and a speed oven.
It was explained that Ryan Hall facilities will be slightly smaller than Grotto Commons, but with a different feel – something Schoenfeldt described as a cross between Wegmans cafe and Sheetz made-to-order service.
Less popular was the announcement that if you choose to live to Ryan Hall, you will be required to purchase a Ryan meal plan, similar in price to the Egan Gold Plan currently offered.
The new building will house 175 new parking spots, hoped to help alleviate the shortages that students have faced this year. There will be three meeting rooms, a front desk, a large convenience store and longer opening hours for dining.
Myron announced that students will be able to tour the building this semester before all the work is finished.
“The open house for Ryan Hall this spring will be a great opportunity for all of you to get a first feel for what this building will offer,” Myron said.
The open space behind Ryan has been given to the Biology department to plant native foliage, and a walkway connecting to the Hirt walkway will be added.
Other key topics brought up by students were the timeliness of snow shoveling, the possibility of increased credit for printing, availability of emergency maintenance crews and mold in Baldwin Hall bathrooms.
Many students asked for updates on the ongoing work in the lower library, and Myron explained that due to difficulties with fire and sprinkler regulations, as well as a burst main over winterbreak, the progress has been somewhat delayed. The renovations are hoped to be completed by graduation.
Boyd thanked students for praise of the dining facilities and said that menus will start being posted on Twitter again, with more vegan options coming. Pop Up will continue in high traffic areas with $1, $2 and $3 options.
Students who inquired about the feasibility of being contacted when they have lettered mail were told that from Fall 2018 they will be sent a text each time they receive mail, be it a package or letter. This change is hoped to be very popular with students and ensure mail is collected more quickly. Myron also added that electronic pickup boxes for packages “should be a nice addition,” along with the decision to combine the mail and copy room.
Finally, the panel asked for feedback from students on the renovations to Zurn 114, the possibility of a REC Center makeover and parking fees next year.