The talk of the town among students heading into this semester was the new meal plan system, which spread across phone screens like wildfire. The Ursinus College administration and dining team had created new options for the 2021-2022 academic year, without a significant amount of student input. As a collective student body, we are all asking the same question: why? What was wrong with the previous meal plan that led the administrators to create a new one?
There are three new meal plans to choose from: 320 Block Plan with $80 Dining Dollars; 150 Meal Block Plan with $350 Dining Dollars; and 60 Block Plan with $1,299 Dining Dollars. Initially, the 60 Block Plan was going to be available only to seniors. Luckily for all of the underclassmen, this exclusivity was nixed and all three dining options were made available to all students.
Some students have expressed suspicion that these new plans were put in place to encourage more spending at Upper Wismer. The highly anticipated Café 2020 is now open for business, and consistently busy due to the high demand from students. “Isn’t it coincidental that Starbucks only accepts dining dollars and the new meal plan has been changed to focus on meal swipes?” said junior, Jon Berman.
When asked what triggered the idea to create a new meal plan, Mary Correll, Associate Vice President for Finance & Administration, told The Grizzly, “The change to a block meal program was made to provide students with more flexibility with their dining plan. Many expressed concerns about meals expiring at the end of any given week and this plan provides the ability to spread meals out throughout the semester without worrying about losing them. While Upper Wismer continues to be the primary dining hall, the other venues, while convenient and healthy, are alternatives that we think enhance your residential experience.” While there was little communication with students prior to this decision being announced, the administration has decided that from now on, “There will be extensive research on the plans during this coming year and students will be actively involved,” according to Correll. Students are hoping that they may receive a survey, or another option to inform the school of their opinions before making big decisions that directly affect the students.
Students are still adjusting to the new meal plans, as many seniors have grown accustomed to the $1,600 dining dollar plan that they’ve known since second semester of their freshman year. By the end of this semester, we will see if the proposed plan has pleased them.