With the work-week weighing students down and the weekend almost in sight, Thursdays can be a difficult day for students at William Jewell College. Yet, these tough 24 hours have recently become more tender thanks to an initiative prompted by WJC’s Student Senate: Chicken Tender Thursdays. Every Thursday evening from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the William Jewell cafeteria, students can find and fill their plates with chicken tenders.
Student senators noticed that many of their friends were obsessed with this form of chicken. They proposed that Senate approach the dining services at Jewell with a request that chicken tenders appear weekly on the caf’s menu.
“Senate itself seemed excited at the prospect,” said Ben Shinogle, Vice President of Student Senate.
Student Senate was not unanimous in their support of the chicken tenders initiative, however.
“One [senator] suggested it was disgusting for me to spread the pain and misery incumbent on factory-farmed animals further,” said Shinogle.
Yet, given the majority opinion, Shinogle approached Kiki Strecker, the vivacious Director of Dining Services at Jewell, to see if Fresh Ideas, the food supplier at William Jewell, could accommodate students’ request for chicken tenders. Strecker approved of the idea. She reasoned that Thursday nights would be the perfect time to serve the projected meal. Since dinners in the Jewell dining hall are predominately enjoyed by students, Chicken Tender Thursdays would be directly “geared toward satisfying the student experience,” said Strecker.
Student Senate is also concerned with maximizing the student experience at Jewell. It is a body directly charged with advocating on behalf of the well-being of students on campus. This means tackling a wide variety of issues, from rewriting Jewell’s alcohol policy to promoting awareness of Title IX. Though the food served in the caf may seem like a smaller issue, it is a contributing variable to the success of students.
“The reality is that a student’s everyday life at Jewell is influenced by a constellation of diverse factors,” said Shinogle. “We have come to realize that working on smaller elements of the student experience can have a positive effect on students’ lives—and the food we eat plays a big role in this.”
Given the influence that food plays in the health and morale of students, both dining services and Student Senate plan to be responsive to future food requests. Strecker urged that she has an open-door policy.
“I want students to know they can come see me at any time,” Strecker said. “I owe it to students to say, ‘That’s a good idea, let’s start it’ or explain to them why something is cost prohibitive or won’t do well in quantity.”
Student Senate will remain an essential intermediary between students’ stomachs and the food served in the cafeteria. A formstack on Student Senate’s website permits students to offer more requests to Jewell’s dining services. Senate plans on promoting this feature and continuing to relay feedback through this medium to Strecker and the rest of the Fresh Ideas team.