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Student Caucus Approves Preston House Proposal for Annual Funding for Cooking Supplies, Workshops

by Micah Wilkins, web editor

Student Caucus approved a proposal brought in by the Preston House Dec. 6 to request ongoing annual funding to invest in cookware that would help with the house’s food co-op. All eight students in the co-op pay a sum at the beginning of the fall semester and are given back their money gradually throughout the year. According to the house’s proposal submitted to Caucus, each student has $2.50 a day to spend on food.

“Admittedly, we all eat well for under a dollar a meal, but it leaves very little room for larger investments such as a quality juicer, cast iron cookware, and canning materials,” the proposal states.

According to resident and senior Dan Segal, the extra funding would help especially for when the house wants to offer workshops, such as canning or fermentation tutorials, to the community.

“We’ve had problems getting supplies for the house in the past,” said senior Derek Roy, Preston House resident.

The house has applied for Caucus grants in the past, but residents hope to tap into a more reliable and continuing source of capital.

“[Ongoing funding would give Preston] more opportunities to do more elaborate events with more materials and resources,” added senior Evan Cohen, another Preston resident.

According to Roy, the way that a co-op is structured on campus makes eating and cooking perhaps more difficult.

“We’re given $2.50 per day per person, but that’s money we have to spend on food,” Roy said. “Being stretched for cash, only having $2.50 a day limits what we can buy. We need supplies and equipment to make what we buy go far, so we process food ourselves. That’s how we can make it work with so little money.”

Furthermore, the fluidity of the cooking supplies in the house is challenging for residents, as utensils come and go as some residents leave at the end of the semester, taking with them their cookware.

“We’re having issues supplying permanent cooking supplies,” Segal said in Caucus Tuesday. “In order to be a functioning co-op, we need to have a reliable source of equipment.”

These eight students in the co-op are given back the money that would have gone toward the cost of their meals each semester, but their money return does not include the students’ contribution to Sodexo’s operating costs, Vice President for Administration and Finance Jonathan Ehrlich told the Echo in 2010. Thus, students have to pay the school’s food provider if they choose to be in a co-op.

After it was approved Tuesday, the proposal will now move on to the administration, as an official suggestion with Caucus’s backing.

“[The proposal] is saying we support Preston House and their mission,” said senior co-convener Thomas Belmore at Student Caucus Dec. 6.

If the house receives annual funding, residents of Preston hope to see it become a “social center” that puts on helpful workshops and more, available to everyone in the community.

“[Annual funding] would help in the continuation and institutional integration and acceptance of a housing alternative for students on campus,” the proposal states. “[Ongoing funding is] necessary to [sharing] our experiment in sustainable living with the community at large through our programming, workshops, and events.”


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