WWU's Willy Hart talks about the new request for proposals for the new dining services contract

Western Washington University will issue a request for proposals for a new campus dining contract on Nov. 5, 2010. The request for proposals is the result of work that began in June 2010 by the Purchasing Department, University Residences and two committees. Please see this letter from Willy Hart, chair of the Dining Contract Committee, for more information. Text of the letter is below.

The process to develop a Request for Proposals for the campus dining contract generated a number of suggestions and requests. The Dining Contract Committee, which includes students, faculty, and staff, thatnks the campus community for their engagement in this public process and the quality of the public comment.

The committee developed the summary of key interests and concerns section of the Request for Proposals through a series of discussions that gave sustained and serious consideration to public comments. While many comments were received about a variety of toipcs, two appeared to be of particular interest to the campus community and merit additional clarification.

The first topic of significant comment was employment practices used by dining contractors. The Request for Proposals includes specific reference to the state of Washington's requirements for minimum wage and collective bargaining and the U.S. Department of Labor requirements for health insurance and occupational health and safety. The Request for Proposals also requires the contractor to hire existing non-managerial employees for a probationary period of six months. In addition, the Request for Proposals makes hiring student employees a priority, particularly students living in campus housing.

The second topic was sustainability. The Request for Proposals highlights the university's existing commitments and goals to sustainable practices, including the Real Food Challenge, and invites proposals to meet or exceed the university's commitments and vision. Bidders must include a plan to reduce energy consumption. The Request for Proposals seeks to obtain the bidders' best and creative thinking about how to meet the university's goals for sustainability without prescribing specific actions.

The published Request for Proposals represents the collective aspirations of the overall campus community for an exceptional campus dining program that matches the reputation and character of the institution. The public comments made a significant contribution to the Request for Proposals. The Dining Contract Committee will review the proposals submitted to identify their strengths and weaknesses.

On behalf of the committee, I would like to thank those who were involved in the public process.

Willy Hart, Chair
Dining Contract Committee

Friday, November 5, 2010 - 11:01am