Changes in meal plan policies cause concern

This archived article was written by: Stuart Lake

A change in the residential life policy at the College of Eastern Utah concerning meal plans and the cafeteria has many students concerned. Flyers have been posted that state:
“You may no longer buy prepackaged food, bottled or canned pop in the cafeteria. You may only buy what the chefs cook. You must pay cash for everything else.” The flyer also goes on to state that instead of two meals on Saturday and Sunday, there will only be one served, and the cafeteria will close a half an hour early.
This is a change from last year where students with meal plans were free to purchase prepackaged foods such as candy bars and soda from the cafeteria. Many students found this convenient because they were able to have their snack food and real meals on one budget.
To not be able to purchase these items seems like a hard change for many students who became accustomed to being able to purchase their snacks and soda at the cafeteria. Dan Allen, the associate vice president, is also head of the food department at CEU.
Allen feels that the current plan is a large improvement over the plan offered a few years ago where students were given 10 meals a week, and if they did not use them they were lost. He has tried to give CEU students the opportunity to eat what they want when they want it.
In looking at the cost of meal plans at other colleges in the state of Utah, generally speaking, CEU is at least $300 less than some of the least expensive plans. With food costs rising nationwide, CEU students are getting a deal on their plans compared to the cost of other schools, as most of those plans are on a 10 to 15 meal a week plan that does not allow for the flexibility that is had at CEU.
Allen gave reasons for no longer selling prepackaged items in the cafeteria. Theft and cost of the items played a part. Also, no other school allows any food to be taken out of the cafeteria. The selling of prepackaged items was an experiment to try and help students spend more of their money, but there was too much cost. For those students who are still having hard feelings about losing their snacks, remember that the meal plan cost a lot less then most places, and no one else in the state allows anything to be taken out of the cafeteria. As for not being able to spend all of your meal plan, budget, and get the most out of it, your remaining balance on your meal plan at the end of a semester is not refundable.
Concerning complaints that students are losing two meals on the weekends, the school has seen enough attendance at meals to bring back the Saturday dinner, and Allen says that those meals were taken away because a large amount of students go home on the weekends and no one was coming, and adds that if there is an increase of students eating meals on the weekends, the Sunday meal will be brought back as well.
CEU is offering a good deal on meal plans for students who live on campus. Some changes have had to be made, but the administration is thinking of the students’ needs first. Students are allowed to spend their money to eat what they want, when they want, where they want, but Allen says that if students continue to complain that he will be happy to go back to the 10 to 15 meals a week plan.
Students should just learn to live with this little change and be happy that they are not paying any more to have someone cook for them and clean up their mess.