Changes to meal plan requirement this year

By Spencer Jacobson, Guest Writer

Starting this semester, all students who live on campus, except Fugate residents, are required to pay for a full 19-meal plan. Chris Heck, the director of food services, said this change was “what was best for the students.”

But not all students agree, and many say that because of the expense and inflexible hours at Mabee Dining Center, they wish they had other options.

The change was instituted at the beginning of this school year. The required plan includes a total of 19 weekly meals, provided by Great Western Dining, Newman’s dining service provider, in Mabee Dining Center. Also included in the 19-meal plan is $100 worth of bonus bucks that can be used at Scooter’s. The meal plan costs students $3,922 per year.

In the past, students were given multiple meal plan options to choose from, including five-, 10-, and 14- meal plans. The plans varied in price.

Before the decision to limit students to one meal plan option was finalized, it was presented and approved by several boards and multiple members of Newman’s administration, Heck said.

Heck said the changes were prompted by multiple factors, one being that students were going to a lower meal plan to save money and not getting enough to eat.

“What we noticed were that the kids just were not being healthy about all of this. They were trying to save three or four hundred dollars and they were doing it by skipping meals. We realized that because this was an option, it ended up hurting the students.”

Heck said that they figured there would be some pushback from students because of the expense, but they felt that enforcing the 19-meal plan would be better for students in the long run.

Lauren Nutting, a sophomore and Carrocci resident, said she is “not a fan” of the change. As a second-year student, Nutting had the 19-meal plan last year and was disappointed by the lack of options she had this year.

“Their hours are pretty short for athletes and stuff so sometimes I don’t have time to go and eat there. I’ve talked to a lot of people and I don’t think anybody enjoys the decision,” she said.

Samantha Rader, a junior and Beata resident, said she too is disappointed by the lack of options. Rader said she rarely eats in the cafeteria yet is required to pay for all 19 meals.

“I am struggling to pay for the dorms and it makes it especially hard when I don’t have any options,” she said.

Despite the inevitable expense for students, Heck said that money was not a reason for the change.

“We didn’t eliminate it because we just wanted to charge the students more money. That wasn’t the goal. We eliminated it because we thought it’s what was best for them,” he said.

Heck said that for what they are offering in the dining hall, at the prices they are offering it, students would not be able to eat cheaper elsewhere.

“If they think they can eat cheaper at McDonald’s,” he said, “they can’t.”

PHOTO: THE ONLY MEAL PLAN offered to Newman students this year is the full 19-meal plan, previously only required for freshmen. Courtney Klaus, Editor-In-Chief