Dining Services will change the meal plan options for next school year and Spider 17, the current meal plan assigned to all students in resident halls, will no longer be offered.
The Spider 17 costs $2,810 a semester and provides students with 17 meal swipes to be used in the Heilman Dining Center each week and 715 dining dollars for the semester to use at on-campus food retail locations, according to the dining services webpage.
“Students have access to come have all meals if they want,” said Bettie Clarke, executive director of campus dining. “We have the staff already here, we’re not adding staff or anything to do this.”
All incoming students and students in residence halls will now be required to have the Spider Unlimited plan which costs $2,960 a semester. This plan will allow students to swipe into the Heilman Dining Center an unlimited number of times throughout the semester.
Diane Hardy, the associate vice president of Campus Services, said the employees in Dining Services began to discuss changing the basic meal plan after surveying other universities and noticing that many of them offered their students unlimited access to a dining hall.
Hardy said she also noticed students packing up food while eating meals in the Heilman Dining Center. When she told these students that that was not allowed, the students responded that they were out of meal swipes and dining dollars and that they were going to be hungry.
“We have a more diverse student body than we’ve ever had,” Hardy said. “With that comes students with a lot of spending money and some who have very little and somewhere in between. The last thing that I was looking for was a student on a complete meal plan, not being able to eat every meal if they needed to eat.”
Clarke said she thought this was a good change for Dining Services and that it was a change that students would be happy with.
Alena McGonigle, a freshman who plans to live in the residence halls next year, said she has not been using all of her 17 meals swipes each week and that she probably used at most two swipes each day.
McGonigle said depending on the times and locations of her classes next semester when she has the Spider Unlimited plan she might stop by the Heilman Dining Center for snacks in between meals. Last semester McGonigle ran out of dining dollars a month before school ended.
A second meal plans change is the current Spider 50 meal plan becoming the Spider 40.
Spider 50 costs $1,520 a semester and will give students 50 meal swipes to be used in the Heilman Dining Center and 875 dining dollars. The new Spider 40 plan will cost $1,260 and will give students 40 swipes to the Heilman Dining Center and 975 dining dollars.
The Spider 40 meal plan will be available for students living in the University Forest Apartments, the Gateway Village Apartments, the Law Dorm and undergraduate and graduate students living off campus.
Clarke said the Dining Services employees decided to make this change after looking at their records and noticing that students on the Spider 50 meal plan did not use all their meal swipes for a semester.
“Forty is more conducive to what they would use, so we made that difference and reduced the price,” Clarke said.
Hardy said because the Spider 40 will be less expensive and include more dining dollars than the Spider 50, she hoped that more students in the on-campus apartments will participate in a meal plan.
Hattie Wilkinson, a junior who plans to be living in the on-campus apartments next semester, said she did not think that she would be going to the Heilman Dining Center very often and that having fewer meal swipes and more dining dollars would work well for her.
“I think having those 40 meals and those dining dollars is a good base,” Hardy said. “And then it still leaves the option to go some other places and do some other things.”
Hardy said the primary driver for the changes to the meal plans was to provide the most complete and best service for the students.
Contact reporter Brennan Long at firstname.lastname@example.org