Meal Plan Should be an Opt-in/Opt-out System

My friend told me she is $50 under where she is supposed to be with her Tiger Bucks. Last year, I heard that Bon Appétit prices were increasing, so I told her that that was most likely the issue. However, after a quick visit to dining services on campus, I learned that Bon Appétit only increased their prices by three percent, which, by no means, would make that notable of a difference in a person’s normal eating habits. Instead, I have come to the conclusion that Colorado College, in conjunction with Bon Appétit, does not really provide fair options for students to eat a reasonable amount of food within budget.

Three different dining plans exist—Meal Plan C, the smallest, B, the middle, and A, the greatest monetary amount. CC’s website suggests that Meal Plan C will provide a student with enough money to have two meals per day. The majority of students have Meal Plan C, as it is automatically given to any student living on campus in a dorm. That seems reasonable, initially. However, if a student simply gets one coffee, one snack, one item above the meals included in the Meal Plan C trajectory, they will quickly fall behind. Additionally, Plan C means two meals from Rastall, or less. Meal Plan C expects students to spend about $18 per day, and given that Rastall prices increase throughout the day, a student may actually go over $18 by getting both lunch and dinner. Moreover, a student could not possibly buy lunch or dinner at Benji’s consistently—more or less a $12 meal—and expect to still be on track with their meal plan.

On top of that, the prices of items available for purchase are incredibly high, comparable to those even at an airport. At CC, we are not business people traveling from meeting to meeting, but college students attempting to scrounge up enough food to satisfy hunger as we study and explore. A breakfast sandwich with two pieces of bread, an egg, and cheese costs a little over $5, while one with bacon costs even more. Similarly, a pre-packaged salad costs about $6, without protein, leaving it as merely lettuce, croutons, and dressing. Therefore, it seems unreasonable that an item we could easily make for ourselves is so pricey at Rastall. Yet, when I say we could make it ourselves, that implies that a student has the ride and extra funds to go to a grocery store and do so, which is unfair.

Lastly, considering the meal plan is not an opt-in/opt-out matter for students living on campus, and you cannot be refunded in any manner if the money is not spent by the end of the year, any student who chooses to spend money elsewhere must have additional money to spend. Most students living on campus must spend at least the amount of money on meal Plan C, yet they will likely go to a grocery or convenient store to satisfy hunger for that third meal, or cravings for a snack. Many seniors living off campus can comfortably live using the equivalent funds of Meal Plan C on groceries, and even wind up affording more food than a dorm-residing student can because they can buy food in larger quantities for a cheaper price.

But, it shouldn’t be the difference of seven or more meals a week for the same price. Instead, students should have the opportunity to opt out of a meal plan and buy their own food. First-year and sophomore housing options provide kitchens and pots, pans, and cutlery to cook, so if students choose to, they should be given the opportunity to use such resources more frequently.

It is unreasonable to force students to spend money on a meal plan when it does not necessarily provide them enough Tiger Bucks to eat a comfortable amount of food each day with the options provided on campus. CC must figure out a way to lower prices with Bon Appétit, or to allow students to opt out of the meal plan—even if they are underclassmen living in an on campus dorm.

Caroline Williams

Caroline Williams

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