Unlimited meals doesn’t mean unlimited options

Augustana Dining Services has launched a new meal plan for the 2012-2013 academic year. “The Unlimited” meal plan provides Augustana students signed up for the plan receive food in the Commons from 7:15 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days a week. However, hot food is only served during “meal time” hours. When is “meal time”? Is it the same for everyone? No. The new meal plan may be more beneficial financially, but does it fit into the schedule of a college student? For some it may, but there are students who have class student teaching, clinicals and more from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and do not have time to sit down for approximately 20 minutes to eat.
Last year, the Huddle served as a great answer for those needs. I would grab a boxed sandwich, yogurt or a cup of fruit from there two to four times a week due to my busy schedule over the meal time hours. The Huddle grill was convenient when I was looking for something quick and they weren’t too busy. I can still do this by purchasing Viking bucks, but it would be money out of pocket that we, as college students, cannot afford.
Last year, I had the meal plan that allowed $300 flex dollars throughout the semester, and I used all of them by the end. It was always convenient to go pick up a Gatorade, coffee or just a snack on the go. “The Unlimited” makes it an inconvenience this year.
Another downfall with the new meal plan is the amount of guest swipes we are allowed. In my opinion, five guest swipes a semester are not enough. I can barely invite my family over for lunch with the amount of guest swipes we are allowed. I understand Dining Services when they say it is cheaper to go this route, but I don’t believe this is the answer. I believe there should be more flexibility with options in the Huddle and the hours upstairs. If I’m going to pay approximately $1,700 for a meal plan, I would like it to fit my schedule and other conveniences.