1/26/09 Ask Charlotte Answers

Question: Why do meal plan dollars just disappear at the end of the semester? I find myself 5 weeks from the end of fall semester with 150 meal plan dollars left. And I don't want to eat $150 of fried crap at table rock in the next 5 weeks. I don't understand why we can't contribute unused meal plan dollars to tuition or toward textbooks at the school bookstore.

Answer: Meal Plan dollars can be used at the Commons, Café, and C-Store—so if you have extra meal plan dollars at the end of the semester, it may be a good time to stock up on snacks at the C-Store for next semester.

If you find yourself with an excess of meal plan dollars at the end of the semester, it may indicate that you should consider choosing a plan for the next semester that is more appropriate for your eating habits. In the first two weeks of the Fall and Spring terms, students may change their meal plans for that semester.

Question: Happy Holidays! I'm trying to buy my books for Spring Term, and have noticed that, a month before the term starts, many of my classes have yet to list their books with the Hartwick bookstore. I don't know if the problem is that the teachers haven't selected their books yet, or that the bookstore has failed to post them, but as someone who can get much cheaper textbooks from Amazon.com than the bookstore, it is important to me to have this information ahead of time. Is the bookstore withholding information on purpose to corner the book market? Because if they're not going to give us competitive prices, they should at least give us book lists early enough for us to make other arrangements. Also, they don't give us the ISBN of the books we have to buy, so we're stuck with just part of the title/author/publisher. It's really annoying to me. What can I do to get the bookstore to post book lists earlier and to include the ISBNs of the books we are supposed to buy?

Answer: According to my friends at the Bookstore, book orders are entered as they receive them from the instructors (as of January 16, about 71% of the spring books orders are in). The books then get posted to the Web site by the following day. Although ISBN numbers are not posted on the Web site, complete book lists are provided in the Bookstore for students who want to search elsewhere.

Question: Hello, I have an important query regarding my Anaphylaxis (potent), an allergen to Lactose (the sugar in all milk based products). Since I have not seen any changes or adaptations being made in our dining halls or Table Rock after I have written over these 4 years more than a handful of times and dropped kind intentioned 'comments' in the little boxes asking for more non-milk- (whey, milk powder, same thing etc.) based baked goods, bread, cheeses, etc. I have yet to see any alternative options other than soymilk (which is most of the time annoyingly not stocked) for people such as myself who aren't trying to be a burden, picky or stubborn to the kind waitstaff, but who have severe life-threatening type 3 (the worst) allergies like mine. I have asked through anonymous comments for non-milk containing products to be available in both halls but I have yet to see any change. So I come to you, Charlotte, with this query because life is hard enough (and ten times more expensive in my case) buying special snacks from Green Earth and vegan accommodating Web sites of the sort and having to carry an Epipen for emergencies, that I don't wish it to be any harder than it has been for some 20+ years for me. If you please Charlotte, do not send me the food directors' e-mail address as an answer; I have written to them and it’s gone nowhere. Plus, it's extremely embarrassing getting tired, impatient looks every time I run into the workers at the dining halls who seem to just be tired, ignorant and moody; "oh no, not you again" looks upon my even approaching the Commons. Please send this inquiry through the grapevine to someone who might understand that I and others with life-threatening allergies do exist, that we aren’t just being picky or having to live this difficult lifestyle out of choice and that we want to be included in good meals with our non-allergic friends instead of isolated with soymilk and a salad. Thank you!

Answer: Thank you for your e-mail. I am sorry that it has taken me so long to reply to you.

While it is clear from discussions with the Hartwick Food Service staff that they work very hard to accommodate students with food allergies (some of which are very severe), it is the responsibility of the student with food allergies to actually meet with the director of the Hartwick Food Service to discuss these issues.

There are currently many students who have worked successfully with Hartwick Food Service staff to establish their special dietary menus. In fact, products such as lactose-free items are not available to the general public in the Commons in order to guarantee that those items are available for the students who have made the Food Service staff aware that they really need them.

Your question raised some good points that encouraged the College to review the process by which students with both severe and not-severe food allergies can arrange for accommodations in the Commons. The goal of this review has been to make the process more student friendly.

Up until now, students needed to speak directly to Rick Accordino, the Director of Hartwick Food Service, to discuss any special dietary needs. However, after reviewing the process that was in place, changes have been made in the hope that they will clarify and streamline the process for current and prospective students, and remove any inhibitions around divulging this personal information.

Below you will find the new Protocol for Special Dietary Requests. I hope this helps you and good luck!

Protocol for Special Dietary Request

1. Students who have a food allergy or a medical condition requiring a special diet need to call Perrella Wellness Center (431-4120) and schedule an appointment with one of our healthcare providers.

2. The student must bring written documentation from their healthcare provider regarding their dietary request to the appointment at Perrella Wellness Center. Our medical provider will make an evaluation and send a written dietary request to the Director of Food Services.

3. The student will call and schedule an appointment with the Director of Food Services (431-4332) to arrange the necessary dietary accommodations.

Question: I live off campus with my roommate of two years who is having some emotional problems. She has no build to anger and lashes out over little things. I'm moving out and back on campus due to financial reasons and a mutual friend is taking my place in our apartment. I've recently found out from my roommate's parents that she is severely bipolar and has been messing with her medication for a few years. My roommate (who is a good and kind person when she's not re-enacting the Exorcist) I feel is a danger to herself and others at this point (she threw a wine bottle at my head because our dishwasher broke). Her parents and I are working toward getting her the help she needs, but I can't let the other girl move in if she might be in danger. I know what I need to do, I'm just not sure how to say it. How should I, or should I even tell the new girl what she'll be living with? My roommate and I are on good enough terms when she's in a stable mood, and I don't want to seem like I'm telling tales. What should I do?

Answer: I hope that your roommate is getting the assistance she needs—you are a good friend to work with her parents to help her.

As the potential roommate is a mutual friend, I can see how you may feel that it is your place to mediate. However it is really not up to you to discuss these personal issues with the friend who may be moving in. You may want to discuss your concerns with your roommate (when she is in a stable mood) and/or her parents, if that is comfortable. Otherwise, I think all you can do is to strongly suggest to the potential roommate that she meet your friend before moving in with her, to get to know her better.

Question: Does the Hartwick cable TV service provide channels in high definition?

Answer: According to my friends in Technology Services, Hartwick will continue with analog distribution because of the expense of providing setboxes to most users. At some point, we will change over, but for the time being, we are sticking to what most people have. There will be no interruption in service because of the over-the-air switch to digital that looms ahead.

Question: What is (or was) the arthaus?

Answer: This is an interesting question—but I’m not sure that I can answer it. Through the ‘magic’ of the Internet I discovered that there are a number of current businesses and Web sites called ‘Arthaus’—however I’m not sure that is what you’re referring to. If you’re referring to a Hartwick-related ‘arthaus’ please let me know—that sounds intriguing!

Question: Why has the clock in the booth section of the commons not been working all year? Is it seriously that hard to get a five dollar clock or put a battery in a clock? I find that really annoying. Also, I'm having a problem with the televisions in the commons. Whenever I'm eating breakfast, someone or other always has the TV on REALLY LOUD. It's distracting and since watching TV while eating meals has been scientifically proven to contribute to the burgeoning obesity problem, why does campus have them in the place where we must eat our meals? And who should students who want them to be removed speak to about our concern?

Answer: According to my friends in the Commons, the clock in the booth area of the Commons is now working.

The TVs in the Commons are for all to enjoy—or not. Those who don’t wish to watch can sit in an area where it’s not in their sight line. If you find that the TV is too loud, I would suggest that you gently ask those who are watching it to turn it down. If no one is watching it, however, it would be entirely appropriate for you to turn it off.

Question: Charlotte - Where are the pool balls, pool cues, rack, and foosballs for Laura's? Also, I see that Table Rock has made improvements, but Laura's looks like a storage room for old furniture. Is there a plan to make Laura's nicer? Paint? Make it brighter? Add windows? Do something? If you get an answer, can it be elaborate? Something other than "yes, we have a plan. Stay tuned."? Thanks!

Answer: According to my colleagues in the Commons, plans for Laura’s and Table Rock Café are currently under discussion with Student Senate, the President’s Office, Student Life, and Food Service.