Dining hall plans compose a significant portion of the costs of living here at Georgetown. On top of that, they can also affect students’ physical health if the dining options are too unhealthy. These concerns were voiced by students at the Georgetown University Student Association senate Town Hall on Dining Changes on Thursday, Jan. 21, and they should be taken seriously by the administrators and consultants who were present to hear the student demands. In response, the same entities must offer a greater variety of high quality food and increase flex dollar budgets.
Many of the concerns raised at the town hall could be alleviated with the addition of a meal plan that offers a greater amount of flex dollars with fewer meal swipes. The meal plan could have $2,000 in flex dollars, and then about 10 meal swipes throughout the semester. Meal plans with more flex dollar options have proven to be successful at other schools, like The George Washington University. At George Washington, on-campus dining is a larger version of Bulldog Alley and features a compilation of independent fast-food options that accept GW’s equivalent of flex dollars instead of meal swipes. These dollars can be used at off-campus restaurants, laundry services and campus printing. Although GW is located closer to more off-campus dining options, students here would value the ability to use flex dollars on food options beyond Einstein Bros. Bagels bagels. Furthermore, GW’s plan for freshmen, which includes money allocated for laundry and printing, is actually $1,542 cheaper than the typical 18 swipes per week plan that is given to incoming freshmen at Georgetown.
Admittedly, this meal plan would diminish the university’s and Aramark’s profit margins, as there would be fewer unused meal swipes. Yet if Georgetown insists on continuing the current plans, it is essential that students be given information regarding how these extra profits are being spent. Additionally, since we are paying higher amounts for our meal plans, Georgetown should be able to provide more variety and higher quality food, as well.
With the implementation of some of these reforms, dining for Georgetown students would be much more pleasant, and the number of complaints submitted to administration far fewer.
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