April 9, 2002

Administration discusses changes to meal plan

The administration is considering new meal plan options for next year that may change the availability of meal-point dining at Bartlett Commons. These changes are still in negotiation but should be finalized by next week, according to Associate Dean in the University for housing and dining Cheryl Gutman.

The changes are prompted by the disproportionate demand on Bartlett dining hall during dinner, according to Ashley Pinkham, a third-year in the College and the Inter-House Council chairperson of the student services committee.

Pinkham was one of three student representatives at three meetings organized by the housing office last quarter to seek student input on the proposed meal plan changes. Also present at the meetings were housing officials, three Resident Heads, Resident Master of Snell-Hitchcock Alfred Anderson, and Aramark representative Joelle Davis.

According to one Assistant Resident Head (RA), about half the students eating dinner in the dining halls do so at Bartlett. Slightly less than one-quarter eat at Pierce, and the remainder of students eat at Burton-Judson. In addition to causing overcrowding at Bartlett Commons, the imbalance disrupts the house system as students abandon their house tables to eat in the newest dining facility on campus.

"I do believe that the attraction of Bartlett has drawn people away from their house tables and in general has been a detriment to the development and continuity of house community," said Aaron Shkuda, a Woodward house RA and a third-year in the College. "While Bartlett is a nice dining hall, the most positive part of any dining experience here is eating with your friends and the members of your house, and the flow to Bartlett is taking that element away."

One proposal that was presented to the housing staff at their meeting last Saturday, according to Craig Katerberg, Fishbein House RA and a third-year in the College, called for three different dining payment options: regular meal points, Flex dollars, and dining points to be used specifically at Bartlett. Katerberg stressed that nothing is definite. The amounts of meal points and Flex dollars, as well as the option of Bartlett points, are still being debated.

Gutman declined comment until the specifics of the changes are finalized and released next week.