As part of the College of William and Mary’s efforts to generate more revenue, all students living on campus for the Class of 2015 on will have to purchase a meal-plan.
The first year this change will have an effect will be the 2012-13 school year.
Currently, only freshman are required to purchase one of three meal-plans. The meal-plan selection site justifies this as, “one less excuse for poor diet.”
However, Vice President of Finance Sam Jones did not mention concern for nutrition as a reason for this shift, “increased participation will give us the funds to make significant improvements in our dining facilities including increased capacity.”
With aims of expanding the current student population, enlarging the Sadler Center’s dining hall is a priority.
The administration has yet to make the formal announcement of this policy shift to current or prospective students.
Part of the reason may be due to a lack of finalization of the policy change. Vice President for Administration Anna Martin, who is in charge of this project, said, “[I] have few specific details at this point.”
Brian Whitson, the director of University Relations, said, “We did send the President’s message on tuition increases to prospective students and their parents last week.”
The president’s message did not include specifics of the tuition raises, or any mention of this changed policy. Tour guides have also still only referred to current requirements for meal plans while giving tours.
“I suppose I still haven’t received all of the information for my freshman year, so it does stand to reason that some information would slip through the cracks. It might have been nice to read about this somewhere earlier,” said Michael Monaco, a member of the future class of 2015.
Many schools already have similar policies in effect. Virginia Tech requires all students living on campus to choose between their two most encompassing meal plans. The Princeton Review consistently ranks Virginia Tech as having some of the best campus food. George Mason requires all students living on campus to purchase meal plans except for seniors, resident advisors, and those with ready access to kitchens. Both Virginia Tech and George Mason’s dining services have a wider array of dining options and hours that far extend the College’s current options.
“If the expectation is that by requiring everyone to have a meal plan, the school will offer more options, better and fresher food. I know a lot of people go off the meal plan due to dietary reasons, like being vegan, or gluten-free, or vegetarian. If they make a concerted effort to ensure these options are available, I think more people would be more amenable to the idea,” said Emily Gottschalk-Marconi.
“I like the independence that not having a meal plan affords me. It’s one way for me to prepare for the real world. There are certain things that I do miss about the meal plan, such as the ice cream machine.”
For freshman looking to embrace the independence of cooking for themselves, the options might be limited.
“I was planning on learning to cook and prepare my own food in college,” said Sarah Gunter, another future member of the Class of 2015.
“It would be a waste to have a meal plan and not use it because of the food or because the dining halls are not open.”