News Date: 
Monday, August 17, 2015

Source: The Red & Black

Students will have a wider variety of meal plan options this year than they have in the past.

Through a combined effort, Food Services, Auxiliary Services, the Student Government Association and Student Services have introduced five new meal plan options to meet the changing needs of University of Georgia students.

Students can choose between three different commuter meal plans as well as two bonus additions to the five and seven-day unlimited access options.

Through student surveys, Food Services found that commuter students did not feel the existing meal plans were conducive to their needs, said Bryan Varin, interim executive director of Food Services.

The new commuter plans offer meal blocks, or single meals in one of UGA’s five dining halls that can be used at any time, and Paw Points, which can be used to purchase food at vending machines and at any of the retail locations on campus, such the Bulldawg Cafe in Tate Student Center.

Students can choose to purchase 65 blocks for a semester—or roughly four dining hall meals per week—with 300 Paw Points for $1,796 per year. Or they can select 80 blocks, equating to five dining hall meals, with 255 Paw Points, for $1,982, or 665 Paw Points, for $2,802.

“We learned from the survey that, for students living on campus, the five and seven-day unlimited meal plans were very much meeting their dining needs and expectations,” Varin said.

Two new meal plan options were also added that allow unlimited access to the dining halls for five days with 275 Paw Points, for $4,254, or seven days with 110 Paw Points for $4,156.

“It adds flexibility, variety and convenience to those all-access meal plans,” said Allison Brannen, marketing coordinator for Food Services.

For the first two-to-three weeks of the semester, Food Services will continue to sell meal plans. So far, the seven-day unlimited plan has continued to be the most popular option. The seven-day unlimited with 110 separate Paw Points came in at a close second, Varin said.

Food Services has also sold over 500 commuter meal plans, with the intent to sell more during the coming weeks, Brannen said.

“I think what has been created is the perfect fit for a commuter student meal plan option,” said Ryan Loke, SGA chief of staff. “The Auxiliary and Food Services teams have been great working with us and listening to our ideas.”

Food Services also recently introduced a new mobile ordering app, called Tapingo, which allows students to use their phones to order and pay for food from any UGA retail location on campus.

Student can then pick up their food at a Tapingo kiosk.

“Essentially you are avoiding lines,” Varin said. “So it is a very fast, very convenient mobile-ordering and pick-up system.”

Read more about mobile ordering on campus in Thursday’s edition of The Red & Black.