The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Meal plan changes include benefits


Residence life is discussing a new policy for next year that would require meal plans for every student living on campus. Complaints about the new policy vary, but I see that the new plan carries with it numerous benefits.

The primary change to the meal plans is the replacement of the five-meals-per-week plan with a 75-meals-per-semester-plan. This plan would be the mandatory minimum for on-campus students. Though students living in theme houses and apartments have been allowed to opt out of meal plans because they have kitchens, the new plan eliminates this option.

One of the major problems with the existing meal system is that if you do not use all your meals by Thursday night, they are gone. Likewise, if you want to eat in the dining hall more than five times, you have to pay cash. With the 75-meal plan, students are not limited to five meals a week. This is perfect for those weeks when you just do not have the time or the energy to cook for yourself, and it is too cold to walk to Chick-Fil-A or El Azteca.

“It’s a back-up plan so students don’t end up going to McDonald’s every meal,” said Residential Living Coordinator Kris Gray. “We want to offer these healthier options.”

But, anyone who has seen the dining hall’s pasta in butter or oil-soaked fries may be suspicious about the healthful claims of the dining hall.

Junior Lydia Shedlofsky is wary about a plan that would require students to eat in the dining hall, where special food concerns might not be addressed. Shedlofsky, who has numerous food allergies, has difficulty finding food she can eat in the dining hall.

One of the primary reasons for requiring the meal plan is that, with more revenue from meal plans, Meriwether-Godsey will be better able to meet the demands of students. With a bigger budget, they expect to be able to afford a variety of higher quality ingredients.

“There is an economic component,” said Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Aaron Fetrow, “We can offer better food when there are more people on the meal plan.”

To those of us on the meal plan, this sounds great. We will be eating in the dining hall either way, so more diverse or better quality food is ideal. Someone keeping kosher may find entrées less suspicious while someone with peanut allergies may be less hesitant to grab a dessert.

Yes, this is less than perfect for those who are not, or were hoping not, to be on the meal plan. Paying an additional $500 to the school for food that may or may not be palatable is not many people’s idea of a good time. But the new meal plan comes to just under $7 a meal, cheaper than most restaurants.

The five-meals-per-week plan averages about $12 per meal, so the 75-meal plan is certainly economical comparatively. And yes, we can cook for less than $7. But, few college students cook every meal, and those who do are likely those who will benefit most from the dining hall’s supposed menu enhancement. Though the meal plan changes may be less than ideal for a few, they will be a better choice for the majority of students.


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