Correction appended: Sept. 4, 2012.
While moving off campus certainly has its perks, it can also have its disadvantages. One specifically is finding the best way to get food.
Everyone knows that it is impossible to beat the cookies at West Halls and places like the HUB are perfect to grab a bite to eat in between classes. But without a meal plan, off campus students are limited to where they can buy food without spending a fortune.
Recently, the University Park Undergraduate Association worked with officials from Housing and Food Services in the development a meal plan for off campus students. They can either sign up for a plan that provides students with $500 or a plan with $1,000 for the year.
The meal plan has only been in effect for a few days, but Housing and Food Services Director of Residential Dining Lisa Wandel is pleased with how many students have already signed up for the meal plan so far.
“Students are using them and we’ve worked hard with our cashiers so that they’re aware that there’s a third option for meal plans,” Wandel said. “The IT department has made sure it’s quick and easy. It seems to be going well.”
The off campus meal plan works as a normal meal plan would in the sense that any money leftover at the end of the fall semester will transfer over to the spring, but will not carry over in the summer.
Students on the off campus meal plan will get a ten percent discount at dining campuses included in the plan and the amount of money chosen for the plan will be charged to the student’s Bursar account.
Many students are still unaware of this option, but it is not too late to register for the off campus meal plan in the spring.
Starting on Sept. 9 and going until Nov. 9, students can log onto eLiving to register for a spring semester meal plan.
While this new meal plan offers a new option for off campus students, some think it’s too inconvenient and would not use it enough.
“It’s too expensive,” Boyi Lu (senior-actuarial science) said about her thoughts on registering for the meal plan.
Since the meal plan is still limited to select dining facilities, other students feel they may not use all of the money on the account and it will be wasted by the end of the school year.
“It limits your choices,” Fang Sun (senior-actuarial science) said when it comes to where he’d like to eat on campus.
This semester will give Housing and Food Services an idea of what worked and what did not with the meal plan.
“After the [fall] semester, we really want to survey the students who had the plan this fall. We’d probably do it in January and see what they thought,” Wandel said.
They will ask basic questions about how the students liked the plan, if any changes should be made, if they signed up for the meal plan in the spring and if they didn’t, then why not.
An earlier version of this article and its headline incorrectly stated that the University Park Undergraduate Association created a new off-campus meal plan. UPUA members worked with Housing and Food Services to develop the plan, but the meal plan was not a product of UPUA legislation. The above article reflects the correct information. The Daily Collegian apologizes for this error.