University Dining Services unfair to students

The University Dining Service provides meals for college students. Not only does every college student in the dorms have to buy a meal plan, but they also have to buy a hefty plan, where the smallest amount is 14 meals per week. All students should have a choice of buying a meal plan; students should not have to buy a meal plan if it is not practical for their living habits.

Sure it’s a nice service – students do not have to do so many dishes, nor do they have to cook. However, many college students are involved in more commitments than just their classes that cause them to be off campus or out of town, which makes it impossible for them to get their money’s worth.

Personally, I work at the student bookstore and when I go on my lunch break, it is impossible for me to get to one of the dorms to sit down for a minute to eat, or even get a bag lunch. This forces me to buy food from a location close to my job, such as Erbert and Gerberts or Subway.

This also happens to me in the evening when I have rugby practice. Since practice is on the St. Paul campus, by the time practice is over I am starving and Bailey Hall’s dining service is closed – so I often go to a restaurant with some of the girls afterwards, causing me to spend more money.

Being on the rugby team also takes up all of my weekends; we play in Iowa, Wisconsin and North Dakota – not to mention the numerous tournaments and games throughout Minnesota. Thus I am forced to buy food once again. To further my point, I have only thus far eaten two meals in any UDS location this semester. I do, however, use my Flex-dine, which is very convenient.

A solution to this problem would be to have all meal plans – or at least the option of one meal plan – be Flex-dine. I would, for example, pay $500 at the beginning of the semester, and the money would be subtracted every time I eat at the dining hall.

This would allow people to eat at the Subway, Java City, Inside Out or any of the other UDS linked locations. Eventually, the campus could have many options where people could use their UDS account. These locations also have better hours than the dining halls, since the dining halls are closed for part of the day. This would be helpful to the college and to the students, making everyone much happier.

College students cannot afford wasting so much money on food that never gets eaten. The UDS system must be changed. It is unfair to force college students to buy a meal plan that is so large, and I believe the Flex-dine system would go over extremely well.

Megan Hoffman is a University student in the College of Liberal Arts. Send comments to
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