New default meal plan to feature unlimited swipes, fewer board bucks

The college changed the default meal plan to include unlimited meal swipes and 150 Board Bucks for the fall 2019 semester, according to a college official.

Associate Dean for Campus Life Erik Muurisepp said the college raised the price of room and board, to take effect in the fall 2019 semester, to reflect the change in the default meal plan from the Semel Plan, 101 meals and 650 board bucks, to the Majestic Plan, which students currently pay an extra $100 for each semester.

The college increased the total price of room and board by $710 from the 2018–19 academic year to the 2019–20 academic year, according to a college announcement emailed to the student body on March 21. Muurisepp said the meal plan change added to that increase.

He said the switch aims to eliminate students’ worries about running out of meal swipes at the Dining Center. Muurisepp said the college also wanted to offer a way to help students save money as the price of room and board increases.

Jim Hoppe, the vice president and dean for Campus Life, said the dining advisory board and Duncan Pollock, the assistant vice president of Facilities and Campus Services, also made the decision to change the meal plan because of the popularity of the Majestic plan this year.

Sophomore Monica Gregoretti said she would switch back to the Semel plan next semester after switching to the Majestic plan every semester so far.

“I just switched [to the Majestic], like automatically, because that’s what I’ve been doing for the past couple semesters, but I’m thinking about doing the [Semel] plan next semester because of how many swipes I’ve used,” Gregoretti said. “I definitely end up using the Max more.”

Gregoretti said she switched to the Majestic plan during her first semester at the college.

“I figured I would use the [Dining Center] a lot, but over time I’ve been using it less and less, so it doesn’t really matter anymore,” she said.

Students can choose from five available meal plans each semester, according to the college’s website. If students switch into a plan that is more expensive, such as the Green Plan which includes 19 meals per week and 300 Board Bucks, the college charges an extra fee of $125 each semester. Muurisepp said the price to upgrade decreased by $100 for each plan next semester. This means that students who choose the Colonial Plan, five meals per week and 800 Board Bucks, would not have to pay an additional fee each semester because students currently pay an extra $100 per semester for it.

The college will also reduce students’ room and board fees by $100 if they switch to the Semel Plan next semester.

“While it is small for some, the $100 difference, if they decide to go down to the Semel, can help in some areas. You know, that might be a book or two in some students’ situations,” Muurisepp said.

The college plans to increase Dining Center hours and provide more seating because of the increased on-campus student population caused by the reopening of Little Building in fall 2019, Pollock said in an interview with the Beacon.

Sophomore Charlotte Brighton uses the Semel plan this semester, but she worries about rationing her meal swipes.

“I typically go for lunch and then sometimes dinner at the Dining Center—other times I have to go out and buy lunch or go to the Max,” Brighton said in an interview. “I have [less than 40] meal swipes left for the semester, so I have been thinking, ‘Oh, just go to the [Dining Center] for lunch and then get dinner at the Max or Roche Brothers.”

However, Brighton said she would not pay an up charge for unlimited swipes.

“I’ll probably switch back to the [Semel plan]. I just really like coming to the Max,” Brighton said. “But I do think people should know where the extra $100 is going.”

Hoppe said students have a two-week period after the semester begins to change their meal plan.

“After the two-week mark it gets a little more tricky to navigate credits, refunds, and all of that,” Hoppe said. “So we have a two-week timeframe for students who want to test things out and make any changes they need to their [meal] plans.

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