This September, students, faculty, and staff will notice differences in SUDS. Changes are being made due to budget constraints, and these changes will necessitate focussing on the roots of SUDS as a pub rather than SUDS as a restaurant.
Over the last three years, residence students have been allowed to use their mandatory food cards to buy food in SUDS, adding to their options that previously only included the cafeteria and Charlie Biggs Chicken. An understanding was reached between Brandon University and BUSU in the summer of 2010 to allow residence students to use their meal plan cards for both food and non-alcoholic beverages in SUDS. There was no limit on food card usage, but in order to be financially viable for Brandon University, $100 was added to the minimum balance of all food cards. Additionally, 5% of all food sales paid for by food cards was returned to Brandon University.
Over the 2012-2013 academic year, SUDS was more financially successful than they have been within at least the last decade, finally breaking out of the red and turning a small profit. This accomplishment came at the expense of Brandon University’s food service operations. Consequently, the University has now capped the amount of money on meal plan cards that residence students can use in SUDS to $100 per semester to a maximum of $200 per year. Scott Lamont, Brandon University Vice-President (Administration & Finance) explains the necessity of this change: “The intent of the program was to allow students staying in residence to have another option to be used occasionally in addition to the University Food Service Operations. The intention was never to have residence students subsidizing SUDS at the expense of the University Food Operation. The new arrangement will continue to allow students to eat at SUDS while limiting the total sales to approximately what is being paid by residence students for that purpose on their meal cards.”
BUSU’s Residence Commissioner, Cameron Flamand has been dealing with the blowback from residence students. He says that they are upset that there were no updates about the changes over the summer. Although he was informed about the changes through his position on BUSU, he was only informed within the last month. As he was not invited to be a part of the meetings between BUSU and Brandon University, he was not able to give the perspective of residence students. Stephanie Bachewich, BUSU President, also expressed her displeasure in the timeliness of the decision, saying, “We are disappointed with the decision as it has been made so close to the beginning of the school year and such a decision should have been negotiated before the summer so that it could have been communicated to students before they made their decision where they wanted to live. Being able to use the food card in SUDS with no limit is an incentive for students to live in residence”.
In addition to the changes in the use of residence food cards, SUDS is now changing its hours. Last year, approximately 90% of food sales in SUDS were due to the use of food cards. With the new limits on the use of these cards, SUDS will now focus increasingly on liquor sales. The hours of operation for SUDS are as follows: 4:00 pm until midnight on Monday and Tuesday; 4:00 pm until 2:00 am on Wednesday and Thursday; andon Fridays, SUDS will be open at 4:00 pm and will stay open until either midnight or 2:00 am, depending on whether there are socials or other events taking place. Wednesdays will remain open mic nights, and Thursdays will still be jazz nights. There will also be free pool on Mondays. Karla Voth, manager of SUDS explains that they will be working to “bring in live bands, [. . .] karaoke, and other entertainment” and are aiming to have events far more often. She also explained that they are changing the social rates and packages for student groups and clubs so that SUDS is a more appealing option for hosting events.
On a more positive note, SUDS is finally installing a new draft tower for draft beer. For years, SUDS has had major problems with the draft line, resulting beer of inconsistent quality. The new tower is not licensed which means that SUDS can choose to serve any type of beer and are not tied to the options from the tower license holder. They are looking at bringing in more local draft beer options, and will be customer suggestions. The menu will stay primarily the same, with additions of pub staples like poutine and onion rings. Any specific SUDS inquiries can be directed to Karla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 104, Issue 1, September 4, 2013.