Meal plan problems spark new solutions

Reporter and Reporter

Until Fall semester 2011, every meal plan on BG’s campus was limited to only retail dollars.

The Oaks and Carillon Place dining centers have become a culture change on campus, also changing meal plans from a retail-only system for the first time since 1971, said Mike Paulus, director of Dining Services.

The two new additions to campus give students the opportunity to use all-you-can-eat “swipes” for one price during breakfast, lunch and dinner hours.

“We made set prices so students can better budget and balance their money throughout the semester,” Paulus said.

There was one glitch to the swipes that the Falcon Dollars had but swipes currently do not – the balance.

“Students would use their swipes and not remember how many more they had for that week. We weren’t able to get the swipe balances just yet,” Paulus said. “But in mid-February, early March, students will have swipe balances on their receipt.”

The addition of a swipe balance to receipts may help students like Josh Callahan keep track of how many swipes they have left each week.

“I never pay attention to how many swipes I have that week,” Callahan said. “I usually just hope I have one more when I go to eat.”

Callahan said he isn’t a fan of only having a set amount of swipes per week.

“If I don’t use one for that week, I don’t get it at all. I just lose it, which is a waste,” he said. “I eat a lot so it’s definitely frustrating.”

Sometimes students also use their Falcon Dollars, forgetting they have swipes and would lose them, Paulus said.

Paulus doesn’t want students missing a meal or losing meals because they forget they have them.

“This isn’t what we wanted for students at all, which is why we have been working to improve these meal plans for next fall,” Paulus said.

Dining services will be allowing students to use their swipes whenever they want throughout the semester.

“There will be no more limit to how many you use each week. You have however many your meal plan offers to use for the whole semester without losing a meal anymore,” Paulus said.

These swipes will work like Falcon Dollars in that students will not be required to use only a certain number a week.

The changes will include: Traditional Silver now has 15 meals per week instead of 14, and the Traditional Bronze has 12 meals per week instead of 10. The Custom Gold has 145 meals for the semester. The Custom Silver has 115 meals per semester, and the Custom Bronze has 90 meals per semester, according to a Dining Services document.

The number of Falcon Dollars will remain the same, as well as the prices for each meal plan.

“So if students use all their Falcon Dollars during that first month, they now know they still have all their meals for the rest of the semester to use,” Paulus said.

While some students are having problems saving up their swipes for the week, freshman Calli Penwill doesn’t mind.

“I like my meal plan. I usually keep track of how many swipes I have, and can still have spending money for other places on campus.”

Penwill said she likes the fact that she has a little of both to use.

“I don’t really eat a lot so sometimes I do end up missing a swipe or two,” Penwill said. “I think the swipes are more for the guys because they eat more than girls.”