The Faculty Student Association (FSA) ended the meal swipe exchange program at Delancey Street during Spring 2022, but miscommunicated how kosher students could receive accommodations for their dietary needs.
All students with unlimited meal swipes used to be able to use meal swipes at Delancey Street in the Emporium, the only all-kosher dining location on campus, without any limitations last semester. FSA’s abrupt change left kosher-keeping students confused on where to get food that adhered to their diet. Now they are required to reach out to FSA to access meal swipes at Delancey Street, but students allege that the lack of notification and quick change has left them in the dark.
“When they stopped accepting meal swipes, there was only one weekend notice of the change,” Ilan Mower, an electrical engineering major, said. Mower only consumes kosher meat and said he felt that the change was rushed.
Kosher meals require specific preparation; meats and dairy products cannot mix. Kosher meat is slaughtered in a way that meets religious requirements. For many, eating a kosher diet is a critical aspect of practicing Judaism.
According to Angela Agnello, the FSA’s Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, anyone can order from Delancey Street and pay with dining dollars, Wolfie Wallet or debit and credit cards. For those who want to use meal swipes to access Delancey Street, Agnello said they can reach out to Jessica Lemons, the Executive Director of Stony Brook Hillel.
Mower said that he found out about the change a few weeks ago when he read a sign at the emporium.
The FSA directed Mower to the Hillel to be placed on a list of students that require kosher meals. After a few days, Mower was accommodated and can now use two meal swipes a day at Delancey Street. He is still disappointed by how the FSA handled the transition.
“Everybody’s totally hung out to dry,” Desbe Greenstein, a junior marine vertebrate biology major, said.
Greenstein transferred to Stony Brook last year during the Fall 2021 semester. She explained that when she first arrived, Delancey Street was open, but they stopped serving kosher food because of a lack of profitability. According to Van Sullivan, the FSA executive director, a decrease of students dorming and commuting, staffing issues and supply chain disruptions caused Delancey Street to shut down that year. CulinArt, the university’s dining service provider, stocked grab-and-go options and microwave meals sourced from an off-campus kosher vendor, but Greenstein said sometimes these meals were unavailable. FSA said students were able to order food “as needed”.
In the spring, Delancey Street returned and “everybody was happy,” according to Greenstein, but the excitement was short-lived.
“There’s a need for it and they should have never closed it,” she said. Greenstein said that anyone that she asked about the change said that “it was too popular, too many people were going there.”
“It was a total 180 [degree turn],” she said. In her opinion, Delancey Street went from being unpopular to too popular during her time at Stony Brook University.
Agnello also said that more accommodations for students who keep kosher are being implemented. For instance, kosher breakfast options are newly available at the East-Side dining hall.
A survey will be sent out “in the near future” by Hillel, an on-campus organization that supports the needs of Jewish students, to gauge the needs of students who keep kosher.
“The Faculty Student Association has been working with CulinArt on a new kosher ordering system for students who need kosher meals when Delancey Street is closed. We anticipate this will be rolled out over the next week,” Agnello said.
Despite what the FSA has said, students like Greenstein and Mower feel like the situation could have been handled differently.
“There should have been a longer advance notice and a plan made ahead of time for the students who truly only eat kosher food or meat,” Mower said. “It’s like the FSA opened a wound and then rushed to patch it with bandaids instead of communicating and making a plan ahead of time.”
Greenfield is less satisfied with the two meal swipes policy at Delancey Street. “I don’t really think that it solves any kind of problems,” she said, pointing out the fact that people have varying appetites. “It’s the only meals that kosher people can eat.”
“I don’t think the university understands how strict being kosher is in that there’s literally one option of meals for kosher people [on campus]. And they took away that one option and so, we’re left with nothing.”