BY FIONA HINDS ’22
Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life Rachel Alldis introduced a new meal plan as an option for juniors and seniors in an email to seniors on Sept. 20. As opposed to the original meal plan available for all students, which has unlimited swipes, 30 Dining Dollars and three guest swipes, the new plan would give upperclassmen 19 swipes per week with 200 Dining Dollars with the three standard guest swipes. The new meal plan can be used at the Grab ’n Go as well as Blanchard Dining Commons.
Richard Perna, director of Dining Services, says that this version of the new meal plan is a pilot plan, to see how popular it is with students. Dining Services will also be looking at the plan’s impact on service at Grab ’n Go, as well as the Cochary Pub & Kitchen. Perna said that they “want to give students as much flexibility as possible.” If the meal plan is well-received, it will likely be opened up to all classes, not just juniors and seniors.
Schools with multiple meal plans are not uncommon: according to their website, Amherst College offers two different meal plans as well. Their default plan is the full meal plan, similar to the one offered at Mount Holyoke. All non-freshmen at Amherst College are allowed to change to the second option, the lunch-dinner plan, if they choose to do so.
Some upperclassmen say they are worried about the potential effects of the new meal plan. “I think it is fine to offer us options,” said Sarah Bloomgarden ’20. “But I am concerned this meal plan is being piloted with the expectation of taking away unlimited swipes for everyone next year.”
Some underclassmen hope that the new dining plan option will eventually be available to them. Jackie Hall ’21 says that she would consider switching if it would save her money. If she had more time in her day, she wouldn’t need to go to Grab ’n Go at all, but she says her lunch breaks are often fairly short. “I’m a STEM major, I don’t have a lot of time. A trial run would be nice,” said Hall.
The new meal plan would direct students towards the Grab ’n Go, which, along with the Pub, was first opened this semester. “It’s helpful when there’s only 45 minutes between classes, especially when I have a class at the gym, and a lot of people have similar schedules, especially first-years,” said Hall. “During the lunch rush it gets really busy in there [Grab ’n Go], but the line moves relatively quickly. You don’t really get a lot of food per swipe, so I’m really hungry by dinner on days I go there!” Juniors and seniors have until Oct. 1 to decide if they will switch over to the new meal plan.