Cafeteria changes not enough for dorm residents
By Brian Beck
So, the cafeteria is making some changes. They're going to add a new meal plan for students in the Village and Courtyard and bring in a dietician once per semester. On top of that, Bert's is going to implement a pizza delivery service for students in the dorms, in Village apartments and in the Courtyard apartments.
Now, on the surface, all of these look like good, positive changes. Allowing Village and Courtyard residents to purchase a different meal plan will be great and many students will really enjoy the pizza delivery service. Also, the dietician coming once per semester will be helpful to those who choose to take advantage.
There's just one real problem with this - we, as a university, are behind the times. Many other universities out there have meal plans with a much wider selection. Here at Pembroke, we have a rigid system for our meals. If you go with a per-week type plan, you get 5, 9, 14 or 19 meals per week. With the 14-meal plan being the most common choice, that gives you around 200 meals in a semester.
What we need to do is switch to a point system. It would be easy to understand, too. Say you bought 1000 points at the start of each semester. Each meal could cost you, say, 5 points and the machines they currently have would just deduct points from your account. The difference, though, would be in where you could spend the points. Instead of just buying a meal at the cafeteria, you could buy five points worth of food at Bert's or any other place that may come on-campus in the future.
Flexibility would be the name of the game here. Students could buy food at Bert's or choose to eat at the cafeteria. Flexibility would bring more into the University dining facilities and would also make many students happier.
Of course, this idea would be a large change to the system and may be difficult to implement. If this isn’t possible, there are other options that could be looked at that would make students happy. The cafeteria could, for example, allow students to accumulate unused meals. Really, though, something needs to be done about the lower amount of meals-per-week plans. Students with the five-meal plan get a total of 80 meals per semester. If you subtract the $125 of bonus dollars you get from the $975 cost of the meal plan that means you are paying $850 for 80 meals.
Doing the math, that means you are paying $10.62 per meal. With dinner as the most expensive daily meal at $4.75, the cost is a rip-off. For comparison, students with the 19-meal plan pay only $3.20 per meal. At that price, students with the 19-meal plan are receiving a 33 percent discount on each dinner.
With students in the dorms not having the option of purchasing the 16-meal commuter block, they need options that provide them with more value.