Meal plan maladies

admin

Ryan Orloski

 

I think our student body deserves a better explanation, if not a solution, for the current state of affairs regarding meal plans. This piece is not meant to discredit Sodexo or any other agencies here at Illinois Wesleyan University, but is simply a request for awareness and conversation.

As we all know, there are a few choices for semester meal plans. We have the 220, the 175 and the 130. We also have the off-campus 75 meal plan. Having choices is not the issue here. Rather, it’s that these choices aren’t quite sufficient.

My first year, I opted for the 175 meal plan and was on campus regularly for the weekends. I had heard that the 175 would be sufficient for 2 meals a day, which I figured would be enough. It wasn’t, and I ran out of meals with quite a bit of time left in the semester. This was my fault, as I’d done a poor job of rationing my meals.

With this in mind, I decided that for this semester I’d move up to the 220 plan, as I’d heard that this was the three-meals-a-day plan. I have adhered to this limit, but as we are not even in November yet and I have less than 60 meals, it seems I will again run out.

Realizing this, I asked myself why this could be the case. I decided I’d do the math to see exactly how this “three-meals-a-day” plan actually worked out. Try to follow along. Let’s say a student eats three meals a day, seven days a week.

The semester is 15 weeks long (so we multiply 15 by 21), which means that he or she will need 315 meals for the semester to maintain this plan. Take away a few weekends of going home, a few days where he or she gets food off campus, and the student will still probably need 300 meals.

See what I’m getting at? The only way for a student to eat three squares a day without running out is to fast on the weekend. Not all of us have the discipline or capabilities to do so, which rules this out as an option. This seems like a problem.

In fact, there are two problems here I’d like to call attention to. The first is that I am going off what I have heard, such as that the 220 plan is good for three meals a day. We all know the reliability of word of mouth, yet that is the only source of information I have to go on when choosing a meal plan. Sure, I can look on the FAQ section on IWU’s website, but even that doesn’t list approximately how many meals I can eat per day or per week. More information would be hugely beneficial here.

The second is that there is no true three-meals-a-day plan. For someone who routinely is up early and up late, I need sufficient fuel to keep me going. For some, that might entail three meals a day. If that’s not a possibility, that means I’m forced to seek sustenance elsewhere, which I shouldn’t have to do. Sure, there’s the “Grab and Go,” but with the 220 plan, I only have $50 worth of Munch Money – believe it or not, this doesn’t go very far.

Everyone’s experience with food might be different, but I speak based on what I have encountered so far. For me, I have not found the current dining setup to be quite sufficient. So again, I am not launching an attack or attempting to slander. I courteously ask for more information, and possibly a true three-meal-a-day plan.