When It’s Time to Eat It’s Hard to Beat the Good Old Meal Plan
It’s junior year and Tessa Stevens wanted mealtimes to be convenient and economical. She purchased a Kent State meal plan, and it has proven to be the way to her heart, her stomach and easy on her wallet.
“I got the meal plan because it’s the easiest option,” said Stevens, an environmental studies major, as she consumed a breakfast sandwich and orange juice in Eastway Dining Hall Thursday morning. “All the food is already here. Why would I spend money to buy food? It seemed like a smarter choice because all my resources would be on campus rather than going to the store to buy food.”
Stevens, a Pittsburgh native, is among a growing number of juniors and seniors, faculty and staff who opted to buy a meal plan for fall semester 2022. To date, University Culinary Services has sold 6,286 meal plans, 600 more than this time last year, according to Gary Goldberg, assistant vice president of Student Services and Engagement.
“I’m pleasantly surprised and optimistic that even though this is an inflationary period, the meal plans are a reasonable value for what people would spend (at a restaurant) or pay to pack their lunches,” Goldberg said. “I’m optimistic it will still grow, and people will continue to find value in it.”
There was also growth in the number of faculty and staff who bought the meal plan, going from 13 last year to 61 this year. Goldberg attributes the growth to faculty and staff becoming more familiar with the dining operation through the weekly free lunches that the university has offered them. There were also changes to the plan.
Convenience is still No. 1 for junior Madilyn Higgins, who said she bought a meal plan because it is difficult to cook meals on campus. She has a mini refrigerator in her Koontz Hall room that would not hold the volume of groceries she would need to buy. In addition, there are not enough kitchens on campus where students can cook their own food.
“With the meal plan, I can go to the DI (Design Innovation) Hub or Rosies,” said Higgins, a public health major from Erie County, Pennsylvania. “It’s really convenient.”