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Sorry, You Can’t Eat Today… or the Rest of the Semester

For those who do not know this now, please be aware: if you do not have the unlimited meal plan, you will eventually run out of meals at the Dining Hall.  When will this happen?

For some, it may take until the last day of the semester to be told that you are out of “swipes.” But for the unlucky others, you may find yourself waiting in a long line during the dinner rush hour, presenting your student ID, and finding out that you have no longer have any more meals.

If you are one of those students, you’re left with the declining dollars that you may have been saving for your daily dose of Java City coffee every morning. Here’s the sad news: you have to spend that money buying yourself food to last you through the rest of the fall.

Most encounters at the Dining Hall that end with the shock of learning you have no meals usually play out like this scenario. 

My friends and I were going to lunch at the Dining Hall on a Friday afternoon last spring. I scanned in, along with my other two friends who followed behind me. We began to walk in when we heard the lady at the desk tell our other friend that her ID was not scanning. She tried again and failed. She was then told to visit the office in the lounge of the Dining Hall. If you are ever told to go into that office, expect bad news.

Our friend walked out laughing, sarcastically telling us that she was going to starve because she had run out of meals. It was only November!

Granted, she had taken the lowest meal plan, but if there was a way for her to check the number of meals she had left, she would have been aware of the lack of them left and had been able to manage her trips to the dining hall accordingly.

My request after this experience is for the University and dining services to collaborate and set up a system that gives students on the dining plan a way to check the number of meals left in their plan.

Simply put, food is a necessity. We need to eat and, even though we may have taken too many trips to the Dining Hall early in the semester, it would be beneficial for us to see how many meals are left on our student ID cards.

The most convenient way for students to verify the number of meals they have left would be on WebAdvisor. The system is already set up and already requires signing in with our student ID and password.

If the University could create a tab that resembles a place for us to check our meal numbers, it would be extremely beneficial for students to be aware of the Dining Hall meals they have left.

This service would also benefit the dining services and the University so that students cannot argue that they were not informed of their meal plan balance. Students would not go hungry, and their parents would not be worried.

If this system could be implemented, the same could be put in place to check declining dollar balance.  Most of the eateries on campus do not distribute receipts after a purchase. This results in a student’s lack of knowledge of the balance on their card.

However, receipts would no longer be necessary if an electronic version of either their purchases or of their remaining balance was also available on WebAdvisor.  This would be healthy for the environment as well by saving paper.

The food services on campus are very popular sites for residential and commuter students. Incorporating a system for personal checking of Dining Hall meals and declining dollars left would be beneficial to students and help them budget their meals.

Without it, students are continuously left crossing their fingers during the latter part of the semester hoping they have swipes and money left on their ID cards to feed themselves.