By: Dakota Roach
With the start of a new academic year comes new challenges and changes. For the students of IC, one of these changes has taken place with their meal plan. A new policy, decided upon and approved by both Illinois College administration and relevant Chartwells dining associates, now dictates that a student may use no more than four meals per day. The new swipe policy mandates that a student, regardless of meal plan, cannot use more than four “meals” within a twenty-four hour period. Any student attempting to use more than four meals in a day will be required to default to using their points to pay for the food instead. At this time, there is no limit on how many points a student may use in one day. For some, this change will not disrupt daily life in any way, but for others this change comes as a shock and requires altering of their daily habits.
Joe Werts, Chartwells dining services associate here at Illinois College, explained the change at length saying, “It (meal limiting) was discussed by Dining services and the college at length, and they decided to place a daily limit on meals to keep the many students each semester from running out of meals. They together decided on four meal swipes a day.”
The new change is already in effect and is routinely being enforced at all dining locations. For those students who might have hoped to cheat the system, there will be no such luck as all of the dining services computers have been altered to accept and regulate the change. At this time, there is no way to convert unused meals into points or vice versa.
These changes come in the wake of students from past years who, unfortunately, used up all their meals before the end of the semester. Students who found themselves in these situations were required to default to points or purchasing outside food and beverages. Some of these students were able to eat off of the unused meals provided by friends or strangers on campus who found themselves with a surplus of unused meals at the end of the semester. With the currently implemented limits however, it is unlikely these acts of kindness will be continued on the same scale. For many students who have visiting friends or family on campus at any time, the implementation of daily meal limits means not being able to provide previously accessible food for these visitors.
Along with Joe Werts, Tim Weis, Vice President of Finance here at Illinois College, offered this information when asked about enforcing the four meal daily limit on student meal plans, “At many college campuses around the country, running out of meals towards the end of the semester is an issue that we never like to see, limiting students to four swipes a day helps reduce this risk. It is important to point out that the unused dining points do carry over on all plans from the fall to the spring semester.”
Additionally, any students finding themselves short on points as the semester progresses can contact dining services Joe Werts to load their cards with additional points at an additional cost of one dollar per point.
It appears that the four meal a day limit was a decision the IC campus student body community was wholly excluded from. Indeed, no one within the student body was consulted before this decision was made. When contacted, member of Student Senate, Student Life Chair Karina Donayre, had this to say, “In order to change the hours of the food services, such as having Starbucks open late, they (Illinois College and Chartwells) had to implement this limit. It’s about deciding where to place the money they have for students.”
With the new regulations being enforced and the unfortunate drawbacks that come with these new rules, it is unlikely that the limit will be repealed any time within the foreseeable future. It seems that for Illinois College students, a daily meal limit is set to become the newest regulatory norm.