Every student who lives on Blackburn’s campus is required to choose a meal plan, but the options provided do not fit the needs of all students. There are four meal plans: 125, 175, 200 and 225 swipes per semester. Due to the different schedules and appetites of students present on campus, there should be more than four options available.
Blackburn prides itself on being diverse and having a variety of students on campus, but the meal plan options offered to said students do not match the diversity present. Some students have restrictions on their diet because of religious beliefs, health reasons, or cultural reasons. While that is not the complete fault of the college, there should still be a push to make additions to the meal plan options.
There are several ways the meal plan situation could be improved. One way is by simply adding more options to the number of swipes available per semester. There are some students who do not or can not eat food provided by Sodexo, whether it be for personal reasons, such as being vegan, vegetarian, or having an extreme allergy, or because their school and work schedules do not align with the times in when the dining hall or snack bar are open. Those students more than likely will not eat 125 meals throughout the semester, but on the other hand, there are students who could use more meal swipes per semester. Some students don’t or can’t go home on weekends or during breaks, so they will need more swipes. There are other students who have guests over often, and they have to use their swipes to feed their guests, unless the guest wants to pay for themselves.
Another option would be for Sodexo to implement a “pay-as-you-eat” plan. Similar to a credit card, students would receive a bill at either the end of the month or end of the semester, in which they would have to pay for the meals that they ate during the billing period. If the semester option were to be implemented, the process should be similar as to how financial aid and billing is handled. A student will not be able to receive keys to their room until they have paid their Sodexo bill. This would ensure bills get paid and students aren’t paying for meals they did not or were not going to use. As for the monthly billing option, if that bill is not paid on time, the student’s I.D. card will not allow them to swipe for and meals until the bill is paid.
While all of these options would improve the meal plan options at Blackburn, there will most likely be no change to the current options since Sodexo most likely does not see a problem with the options offered. Almost any change would be greatly appreciated, even if it is only letting unused meal swipes roll over to the next semester. Is that too much to ask?