FUN STAR: Dining Services justifies mandatory meal plans

By Chris Hoch

Sun Star Reporter

(This piece satirical and should not be taken seriously.)

Meal plans, a mandatory expenditure for most undergraduate students living in the dormitories at UAF, have been publicly justified in a press release by UAF Dining Services.

Dine 49

Student wait in line for dinner one night at Dine 49. They were primarily eating burgers, which are better for you than home cooked salads, according to UAF. – Zayn Roohi / Photo Editor

“Meal plans have received criticism as of late, especially with the rise in prices, and so we’re letting everyone know why it is necessary that these meal plans be mandatory,” UAF Dining Services stated in a press release. “It’s not just about making money; we’re not being greedy. We believe that this is the best policy for students.”

Students who live in the dormitories at UAF are required to purchase a meal plan. Prices range from $1,995 to $2,160 per semester, and offer Munch Money in return. Special options are available to those living in Wickersham, generally reserved for foreign exchange students and upperclassmen, which can cost around $750. UAF undergraduate students of freshmen or sophomore status are required to live in the dorms unless they are living at their parent’s home, which effectively means that freshmen and sophomores are required to purchase a meal plan.

According to the UAF Dining Services press release, allowing students the option to purchase a meal plan would result in fewer students purchasing meal plans. However, without these meal plans students may accidentally starve.

“Coming from St. Louis, I had no experience with feeding myself,” UAF student Mark Winslow said. “I didn’t realize I had automatically purchased a meal plan through dining services and nearly died when I was unable to feed myself.” Winslow was taken to the ER at the beginning of the spring semester when his blood sugar dropped to dangerously low levels.

“Students who don’t budget for their meals may find themselves without the resources to acquire food.

Requiring that students spend $2,000 each semester on food will help to ensure that they have the financial means necessary to feed themselves,” the press release said. For a four- month semester, the $1,995 meal plan option would result in roughly $500 per month in food expense.

“Five hundred dollars a month is a reasonable monthly food expenditure for a college student,” Tim McGee, Dine 49 general manager, said.

“Cooking can be a dangerous activity. Whatever life skills are gained by cooking for oneself (cooking skills, better nutrition, dietary control, etc.) are outweighed by the possibility of someone accidentally cutting or burning themselves while cooking,” UAF Dining Services said in their press release.

Most of the dormitories at UAF are not designed for having their cooking facilities used. Moore, which can house 322 residents at a time, has only a single kitchen. During the summer, when meal plans aren’t mandatory, the kitchen receives rigorous use. During the semester, though, using the kitchen of the dormitories could result in a fire.

“College students are irresponsible, and are prone to setting things on fire. This is especially a danger when college students are cooking,” UAF Dining Services said in their press release.

“One issue some students have had is that the Munch Money purchased with a meal plan disappears at the end of the semester,” UAF Dining Services said in their press release. UAF has recently required that the Subway in the MBS complex stop stocking gift cards, which have been used in the past by students to circumvent the loss of the value of their munch money by purchasing gift cards from Subway which will last.

“College students cannot be trusted to not set their living facilities on fire and would starve if we didn’t force them to buy our food,” UAF Dining Services said in their press release.

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