News Date: 
Monday, January 26, 2015

Source: Red & Black

Mon Jan 26, 2015.

Lindsey Conway 


In response to student desire and opinion, the Office of Auxiliary Services is beginning the process of revising and adding to the meal plan. “Student feedback is critical because what we do is serve the food for the students,” said Robert Holden, Associate Vice President for Auxiliary Services. 


Last semester, the Student Government Association held Shout Week — a week designed for students to tell their government and the University what they would like to change on campus, said SGA Treasurer Brittany Arnold. “The meal plan was the number one option that students wanted to see changed,” said Arnold, a junior business major from Roswell. “Students wanted to see varied meal plans and commuter meal plans. They wanted to see some healthier options and longer hours in the dining halls. Really it was more than we even expected.” Off-campus and commuter students were particularly vocal about meal plan revisions.“I think it would be really beneficial for me. I walk to campus, and it takes about 20 minutes. By the time I get there I don’t really want to turn around and go home for lunch,” said Kate Twillmann, a senior marketing major from Basking Ridge, New Jersey. “I was deterred from purchasing the meal plan because there was no way I would get enough bang for my buck if I ate most of my dinners and breakfasts at home. However, with the new dining hall so close, if they did create a lunch only meal plan I would definitely take advantage of it.” 


Another issue students have with the current meal plan is that it is expensive to pay per meal. “I would buy the lunch plan if it was once a day and if it were a cheaper price than what Bolton serves,” said Paige McSherry, junior Earth Science Education major from Newnan. “I know it’s about 12 dollars per day, and that’s pretty expensive for one meal.” The main thing that Auxiliary Services wants to do in revising the meal plan is to listen to student concerns. “Come fall, we will definitely have some different options available,” Holden said,” but we want to be able to explore it much deeper before we just go out and introduce something. We want to get the information from the students so that we move in the right direction instead of just making a knee jerk reaction to what we think we are hearing.”  Holden, who has worked with other university meal plans such as at the University of California San Diego or University of Alaska Fairbanks, said he would like to incorporate some of the ideas he has seen from across the country. Interim Director of Food Services Bryan Varin said he wants to bring greater flexibility into meal plan changes. “To me it is all about variety. We have built so much of the program based on variety, and we have an opportunity to enhance it,” Varin said. Auxiliary Services is in the stage of collecting information from students and using that to plan the changes they will make. “We are in the process of bringing in a consultant, and we think it is most important that we have that consultant come in and sit down to discuss with the students what it is they are looking for,” said Holden. The University of Georgia food plan is by no means a poor option for students. It was ranked No. 6 out of 1,175 college meal plans the variety and quality of its foods, according to Auxiliary Services simply wants to revise the meal plan so that it fits the desires and lifestyles of the students it serves, said Holden. “We don’t want people to think that we don’t have great programs,” Holden said. “We just want to be able to serve people who do not have the opportunity right now and to open up the program and provide more.”