SGA motion revolutionizes meal plan
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012 07:09
For West Virginia University students with meal plans, breakfast, lunch and dinner are no longer locked at mandatory hours.
A motion approved last night by The Student Government Association will allow WVU students with meal plans to use meal plans at their discretion.
SGA voted to support and endorse the plan presented by West Virginia University Dining Services. According to SGA Governor Ryan Campione, this plan is a "game changer."
"It’s great to see University administration being considerate of the students and their needs," Campione said. "This plan is much more affordable and flexible for students who live in or out of dorms."
Although the new dining plan would not go into effect until Fall 2013 and must be passed by the WVU Board of Governors in the spring, it includes four meal plan options that offer more time frames of meals, less costly block plans and more dining dollars to accommodate for more snack options throughout the day.
After conducting in-depth research through surveys and looking at nearly 40 surrounding and Big 12 schools’ meal plan options, the Dining Plan Project Team – including Campione, Residence Hall Association President Walter Hardy and Director of Dining Services David Friend – comprised a plan that addresses the main issues involving the current meal plan options.
With the current plan, students with a traditional meal plan consisting of 10, 15 or 19 meals per week could only eat one meal in each time slot – breakfast from 7:30-10:30 a.m., lunch from 10:31 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and dinner from 3:31 p.m-9:00 p.m.
With the proposed plan, more flexibility is offered to students by allowing them to eat more than one meal within one time slot.
"Instead of having traditional meal times, with these meal plans we’ll offer a bucket of three meals that can be used daily," Friend said. "Therefore, if you wanted to eat anytime during the course of that day, you would have three meals to do so, so you’re no longer working against a clock with your hectic schedules."
In each of the two block plans, which allow a certain number of meals
per semester, the cost per meal will lower by $1.33, which is a 12-14 percent
decrease, depending on the plan. There is also an added $300 in dining dollars vs. the $100 in meals plus in the current plan. Dining dollars and meals plus will operate similarly.
In each of the two traditional plans, students receive $50 in dining dollars. They do not receive any money in meals plus in the current plan.
With the traditional plans, the price per meal will raise $0.19 – a 2-3 percent increase, depending on the plan – to cover additional food costs.
However, the committee recommended 20 meals per week versus 19 which will raise the average meals per week and per semester by 5 percent, according to Campione.
"This is a financial gamble for us, quite frankly, to introduce all this flexibility, so the additional cost on the traditional plans is used as a safety net as well," Friend said.
According to Hardy, a change in the dining plan was necessary. He said he received great satisfaction from helping to solve one of the biggest complaints from students.
SGA participant Daniel Brummage agreed.
"Having worked on this issue as a freshman and sophomore, I remember all of the stories and reasons that this was such a big deal," Brummage said.
"To think that future freshmen won’t have the same issues of having to miss meals or losing such value in their meal plans – we have come a long way in that little amount of time."
SGA President Zach Redding said he believes it will benefit students and solve a problem that has persisted for years.
"In the current plan, I know that if anyone who lived in dorm and likes to sleep happened to sleep past that 10:30 a.m. mark, you could only have two meals per day," Redding said. "I really believe this is a monumental change. This isn’t something very small – this is huge."