OPINION: New meal plans - changes made for the wrong reasons


Jackson Mote is a junior French
major from Indianapolis. 

It is no secret by now that DePauw University is changing the structure of the meal plans next semester. The university will begin to use a swipe system rather than the previously used declining balance format to favor the “all-you-care-to-eat” dining halls such as The Hub and the currently being constructed Hoover Dining Hall. 

Unfortunately, students will lose some of the options that the declining balance format offered so that the university can forcibly funnel students to the aforementioned “AYCTE” halls.

In a campus-wide email on March 20th 2015, Associate Vice President for Finance Kevin Kessinger stated, “Beginning next fall, the university is changing the meal plan structure to better accommodate the needs of our students”. 

With Kessinger’s statement in mind, it is important to understand that this new meal structure is made to benefit the students but I feel as though it falls short of that goal by removing the declining balance format. 

It is clear that the new plan will provide an easy way for students to track their swipe spending rather than having to track their actual dollars spent amount. However, using a declining balance format is part of learning to create good spending and saving habits.

One solution that I would like to propose is to make the swipe system meal plan optional. This would give students a choice in their meal plan rather than forcing them into the new meal plans that DePauw will offer next semester. 

Essentially, students that currently attend DePauw could opt-out of the swipe system meal plans in favor of the current declining balance meal plans. Although I do not agree with the idea, DePauw could set the expecation for swipe style meal plans to incoming students and force these incoming students to adopt the swipe system meal plan going forward.

I believe that rather than better accommodating the needs of students, the new meal plan structure will force many students into an unrealistic system of using swipes for meals that does not prepare them for real life spending after college.

I doubt that it was coincidental that the email regarding these changes was sent the Friday before spring break. It’s not fair to set the expectation for meal plans as one thing and change it to another while never consulting the people that the change affects. 

Do you want to stop DePauw University from forcing us to adopt the swipe meal plans? 

Then Google search “DePauw Meal Plan Petition”, sign it and together we can stop Bon Appetit Management Company from creating even more of a monopoly on our campus’ dining than they already have.