Campus Dining Services will move forward with a restructuring of the university's meal plan system, switching to the block meal system and removing the weekly meal plan options, effective summer 2011.
The move will allow students to choose from a specific number of meals per semester, rather than per week. The change will also allow them to spend meals throughout the semester, as opposed to the current dining plan, in which unused meals at the end of the week expire.
“When we surveyed students and asked them what they wanted, the most requested change they asked is that meals roll over from week to week,” Campus Dining Services Director Julaine Kiehn said. “In response, we said we will go to block plans next year. Students will have all meals for the semester available to them at the beginning of the semester.”
The block plans won’t affect most students until next fall, Kiehn said.
Students will be able to choose from 175, 225 or 275 meals per semester. Those figures translate to roughly 10, 14 or 17 meals per week.
The new meal plans would also allow for students to use partial meals.
“If you start off the number with 175 meals, it would say 175.00,” Campus Dining Service spokesman Andrew Lough said. “If you went to Baja and spent six points, then your balance would be 174.40. It’s a very straight forward, very intuitive system.”
E.Z. Charge will still be available for students, but with a change of wording.
“What happened for a lot of students is that it was called the Gold Plan and it was really confusing,” Lough said. “Now if they would like to sign up for an E.Z. Charge account they can.”
That process would be done separately when students sign up for their residence halls.
CDS met with the Residence Halls Association and several other departments and will meet with others to work out details regarding the block plans.
Kiehn said, so far, the new dining plans have been well received by both students and staff.
“It’s nice to not have to worry about going to the Emporium every Saturday to spend my unused meals,” freshman Devon Fasbinder said. “I think it’ll be beneficial to everyone because it’ll shorten the length of the lines at the Emporium and Rollins Late Night. People won’t be spending their points all at the end of the week, but can instead spread them out when they actually need to.”
For some students, like freshman Nicole Krasavage, it means not having to spend all her points alloted for a specific week before a trip out of town, stocking up on jars of peanut butter and cookies.
Changes to the dining halls have been in the works for a while, but are in the finalization process now.
“Over the past several years, we’ve made tweaks to the dining plan system in terms of takeout, how we dealt with points,” Lough said. “We found that as we looked back, all the changes had a good result. But adding them on and adding changes here and there had become quite complex and cumbersome. We just wanted to simplify that.”