Anytime Meal Plan replaces block options

Freshmen and sophomores no longer see a menu of options when it comes to purchasing meal plans.

Starting this year, University Dining Services now requires underclassmen to purchase the Anytime Meal Plan.

Rick Arcuri, associate dean for administrative services, said the decision to change the meal plan was made after parents and students raised issue with managing the number of swipes throughout the semester of the previously offered meal plans.

“Students don’t have to worry about (conserving meals) anymore,” Arcuri said. “Dining is dining.”

The Anytime Meal Plan, which replaces the erstwhile block-125 and block-175 plans, allows for unlimited swipes to the traditional dining areas at McCormick, Cobeen and Straz Tower. Students will also be allowed to swipe once during each meal period at one of the 14 destination dining spots on campus.

Arcuri and Todd Vicker, executive director of the Alumni Memorial Union and auxillary services, acted as a tag team for Dining Services in making the decision to change plans after speaking with the Residence Hall Association, Marquette Student Government and the Dining Advisory Board.

In addition, the Anytime includes $50 worth of dining dollars. The block-125 and block-175 offered $150 and $100 in dining dollars, respectively.

Arcuri said dining dollars are not included in the price of the meal plan paid by the student. Rather, their inclusion was a decision made by food service provider Sodexo after the university expressed the need for an incentive to make dining plans more attractive to students and staff.

Although the block option is no longer, one previous meal plan is still in existence, a reduced 50-meal plan that is offered to upperclassmen and university employees.

The Loyalty 50 plan has been around for several years, Vicker said. However, it does not include dining dollars.

According to Arcuri, interest in the Loyalty 50 plan saw sharp increases after its first couple of years as well as slighter jumps in the past year. Any university employee can purchase a Loyalty 50 plan for $350, although the bulk of purchases come from upperclassmen.

Currently, 518 people are signed up for voluntary meal plans, Arcuri said.

After observing the first weeks on the new plan, Acuri said the number of swipes has increased from last year, with students eating smaller meals and swiping more often.

“The change seems to be going pretty well since people can come and go as they choose,” Arcuri said.

But while administration may be happy with the progress of the meal plan, the change has received a mixed bag of reviews from those on campus.

Matt Howard, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration who has had a meal plan the past two years, said students who may have chosen the cheaper block-125 option are at a disadvantage with the new Anytime plan.

“College is expensive as it is, and some people are struggling to pay for everything,” Howard said. “When you force them to pay more for the unlimited plan, it doesn’t seem fair to those who are already being squeezed to pay for everything.”