The days of only being able to use meal swipes in the McGill Commons are over. Starting this fall students will be able to swipe for a meal in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center.
“It gives students far more flexibility, far more choices and gives them the ability to use a lot more of their meals,” said Vice President of Student Services, Mary Ann Nagy. “For example, if you have a meal plan with 225 meals then at the end of the semester you should have zero meals left and should not be taking a lot of money your pocket either.”
The new swipe plan is called the meal exchange and each station in the student center establishes what would be a meal equivalent. According to Nagy, a meal swipe in the student center at the pizza station would be two slices of pizza, a salad, a piece of fruit, chips and a fountain beverage or 20 ounce bottle of Dasani water.
Nagy recommends if people are only a little hungry they grab a smaller meal at the student center, but if they are very hungry then they should head over to McGill Commons where it is still all you can eat after you swipe in.
Molly Chamberlain, District Marketing Manager for Aramark would like to see students put their meal plans to full use.
“We’re hoping students catch onto this quickly and take advantage of the fact they can swipe for meals in two locations on campus,” Chamberlain said.
Chamberlain said in addition to giving students the opportunity to swipe for meals in the student center, Aramark has also made a number of changes.
“We have a brand new management team in place, so we’re really excited to create a new image here on campus and to build relationships with the students,” Chamberlain said.
The center island in the student center has also been taken out in order to open up space. There are also four cash registers in there now, with one completely devoted to meal swipes. According to Nagy, these changes were made so that their students would not have to wait in line for long periods of time in order to get their food.
In addition to this year’s changes for the meal swipes, the plan in place for the entire dining area in the student center is to get it redone next summer. Nagy said they will be going for a sleek modern look with new chairs, tables, floors, paint and a brand new food court.
While there are plans for next summer, the effects of this summer’s changes were noticed on the first day of classes. According to Nagy, there were 300 meals swiped in the student center last Tuesday and the number increased up to 500 on Wednesday.
She is hoping as students get more used to it, they will be balancing their meal plans between both locations.
Junior Mike Migliaro is a commuter student who thinks having meal swipes available in the student center will be a great thing. “It gives everyone the option to get food from the Student Center or Dining Hall and it will give commuters a great reason to purchase a meal plan,” said Migliaro.
Every year, there are cost increases on certain food items and this year is not any different. Nagy approves a percentage increase.
“We know food costs go up every year because of the product itself and because of the labor associated with making that food item,” Nagy said. “Did prices go up? Yes. Was it because of the meal exchange? No.”
Nagy added it is very possible meal swipes could be expanded into other dining areas like Raising Cane’s in the future.
“It’s something we will definitely be looking at, but we need to get students into the habit of using it this way first,” Nagy said.