Pitch: Food Reform on Campus

Few Transy students are completely happy with the dining options and meal plans on campus.  There are several problems with the food on campus that are not directly related.

  • Meal plans are difficult to get exempted from. To be exempted, a student must live:
    • Off Campus
    • 4th Street Apartments
    • International House
  • Many students don’t want any of these options
    • Difficult to get permission to live off campus
    • 4th Street Apartments fill up fast and have security issues and is on the outskirts of campus.
    • I’ve heard that the international house isn’t going to be an option in the future.
    • Some students are happy with the other dorm… except for the meal plan requirement.
  • Meal plans are flat rates. If you live on campus, all meal plans cost $4,140 currently.  There is not cheaper option with significantly fewer meals and points.  The commuter options are not available for those living on campus.
  • Sodexo keeps closing options.
    • Thompson hall late-night junk food was closed and moved to the Caf this year.
    • The Raf is closed for May Term.
  • The Caf is terrible most of the time.
    • Lots of rice
    • Strange choices
    • Often either too salty or completely flavorless
    • Few vegetables outside of the salad bar
      • Green beans never taste decent
      • Carrots always undercooked
    • Rarely choices for fruit (fresh whole bananas, apples, and oranges always available).
    • Saturday and Sunday Brunch is almost always awful unless you want an omelet.
    • Odd portion sizes
    • Not really helpful that the deserts are decent!
  • Jazzman’s is mostly fine for its purpose
    • Would be nice to have a breakfast wrap with less bread than sandwiches
    • Paper plates rather than plastic for microwaving in would also be better
    • The “smoothies” don’t have any actual fruit in them, just a lot of sugar
  • Students can only use 3 meal swipes each day.
    • 1 for Breakfast, must be used before 11 am
    • 1 for Lunch, must be used between 11 am and 4:30 pm
    • 1 for Dinner, must be used after 4:30 pm
    • If you miss a meal, you can’t double up later when you need it or convert it to points if you want a late-night snack and you lose that meal swipe.
  • For students who choose to avoid dairy the only option is soy milk. People who choose not to drink milk, have probably also heard that soy isn’t great for you either.  Having more options (i.e. coconut, almond, or cashew) would be wonderful!

Students need more options on campus, both in food choices and in meal plan choices.  Many students are not adequately utilizing the dining options on campus.  Since many people are wasting money every time they miss using a meal swipe, Sodexo should have more than enough to make the choices decent.  The dining choices are uneconomical and unhealthy- two things college students struggle with already.

There is probably not an easy way to fix this.  Sodexo has a monopoly on the food at Transy and they’re interested in making a profit.  However, I would still like to offer some suggestions:

A. Allow students to opt out of the meal plan.

B. Make DRASTIC changes to the on-campus food options

C. Redesign the meal plans/ add new ones   i.e. “5 meals and $50” or “7 meals and $100” at discounted rates.

Implementing all three of these would be especially helpful.  A and C would be easier to change since they are just adding new options into the food choices on TNet and would not require and actual work for Sodexo to change recipes or add food.  B would be nice, but still leave students with no way out if they still don’t like it.  However, if A and C were both implemented, Sodexo would have to implement B, since they would have to convince students that the on-campus dining options are worth the money.  The Transy dining options affects every student’s health as well as their wallet.

Click Here for Google Slides presentation.