Dining Services changes should include students

Lucy Hough

Working at The North Wind and eating go hand in hand. Our staff already mourned the fact that the Den can no longer be a hang out after meetings since it changed to all-you-can-eat, but now we’re mourning another change by Dining Services. Students with meal plans are no longer allowed to use those meals in the latest, though not greatest, eatery on campus, Café Libre.

When the academic year started, I bought a Campus Cuisine meal plan under the assumption that it would be the best way to get my money’s worth on campus.

After I realized I wouldn’t be able to use the meals in the Den this year without shackling myself to a table for each meal, I was relieved to find that I could use it in Café Libre and bring the food that I bought ($7 worth or less) to my office and continue working. And it’s not like the food in Café Libre is gourmet, it’s the short end of the stick of what the Den offers. But I can’t do that any more.

Students can buy food at Café Libre with Dining Dollars or Cat Cash, but not with a meal. Meals are only applicable at the Den and the Marketplace.

But that doesn’t make any sense. A lunch at the Den for Average Joe costs about $7.95, so that’s approximately what my meal is worth when they swipe my card. And once my card is swiped, I can eat as much food as I want. Yet, I can’t buy just $7 worth of food at any of the other eateries on campus. But perhaps my dollar carries less at some of the eateries which have a specific type of food, like Fieras, Starbucks or Temaki. That’s fair. But at Café Libre, with “Grab and Go” which is essentially Den food wrapped in Saran wrap, it just doesn’t make sense that I can’t get a limited amount of food that I’ve already paid for.

What it comes down to is I shouldn’t have bought the Campus Cuisine meal plan. But even resident students on staff who have meal plans have to use their limited Dining Dollars on food that they could get in the Den but wouldn’t be able to take to the office. It’s as if getting food from Café Libre to take to another location is as great a privilege as getting the specialized food at Temaki or Fieras. But it’s not. Fieras and Temaki are undeniably more delicious.

At some point, the changes coming down the line from Dining Services need to start including the majority of students’ opinions. There are so many students on campus who have a variety of needs from Dining Services, but they continue to miss the mark. More could be done to find out what these students want and how to compromise to make dining options on campus better for everyone.