Indiana State University Newsroom

Trustees approve off-campus dining option, early retirement program

September 11, 2009

Indiana State University will offer an off campus meal plan following action by the university's Board of Trustees Friday.

The board approved an agreement with Sodexo Services of Indiana that allows the campus food service provider to develop a program for students, faculty and staff to access a dedicated meal plan at off-campus restaurants by using their university identification card.

The plan will create "Big Blue Bucks" redeemable with local merchants. The off-campus account will be separate from ISU's existing meal plan.

The goal is to expand dining options for students, faculty and staff while also supporting the local economy, said Tom Ramey, vice president for student affairs.

"This agreement is an example of Indiana State University responding to the interests of the university community and our business neighbors," Ramey said. "Students have told us they want the convenience of being able to access a university meal account elsewhere and Terre Haute restaurants, particularly in the downtown area, want to reach out more to students and others in the university community."

A Sodexo subsidiary, Off Campus Solutions, will work with area businesses who want to participate. Eligibility will include, but will not be limited to, restaurants and retail stores.

Off Campus Solutions will contact businesses who have expressed interest in such a program. Once the off campus meal plan is established, students, faculty and staff will be notified about how they can deposit funds into the account.

Also on Friday, trustees approved a phased retirement program allowing eligible employees age 60 and older who have been employed by the university on a full time basis for at least five years to work a reduced work load, with a corresponding reduction in salary, for up to three years before full retirement.

"The Phased Retirement Program allows faculty and staff who might not be quite ready to leave full-time employment the opportunity to transition into retirement. Similar types of programs are offered at many colleges and universities throughout the country," said Diann McKee, vice president for business affairs.

As part of his regular report to the trustees, university President Dan Bradley noted a nearly 1 percent increase in enrollment for the fall semester, pointing out the increase was virtually across-the-board and that campus residence halls are at 98 percent capacity.

"I was especially pleased to see the tremendous (30 percent) growth in transfer students. Many individuals and offices throughout campus contributed to this increase in enrollment," Bradley said. "As we look forward, enrollment continues to be our number one priority. A major part of our strategic plan will focus on issues related to improving the recruitment and retention of students. There is more that can be done to improve our students' opportunities for success in meeting their educational goals."

Indiana State's new strategic plan is expected to be announced in October in conjunction with the university's Homecoming and the announcement of the ISU Foundation's first comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Also as part of Bradley's report, the ISU Council on Diversity submitted an 87-page report assessing current campus diversity levels and setting forth goals for strengthening diversity, particularly among faculty and staff.

In other action, trustees approved the installation of new air handling and chillers for the south gym and lower level of the Health and Human Services Building, replacing units in place since 1960,as well as the replacement of sidewalks on the south and east sides of Holmstedt Hall and renovation of the adjacent concrete plaza.

Cost of the Health and Human Services Building project is not to exceed $1.8 million while the Holmstedt Hall project is not to exceed $581,000. Both projects will be paid for using repair and rehabilitation dollars allocated by the state for 2008-09.

Also during the meeting, Tim Hall, an employee of the university's central heating plant and a sergeant in the Indiana Army National Guard, presented President Bradley with an American flag that flew over the command post at Camp Anaconda, Iraq, where Hill was stationed from December 2007 to January 2009. Hill has worked at Indiana State University for 28 years and is a 33-year National Guard veteran.

Photo: - Tim Hall, a 28-year employee of Indiana State University's central heating plan and a sergeant in the Indiana Army National Guard, presents university President Dan Bradley with an American flag that flew at Camp Anaconda, Iraq.

Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or