Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Saving swipes for later

Courtesy Facebook

Are you tired of many of your meal swipes going to waste after the semester is done? Most students have 40 or even 60 going doing down the drain. Well, there are a lot of people who have the same sentiment about this on campus. The Student Government Association (SGA), despite being hugely successful with pushing for the rental book program, is spearheading a movement to allow for excess swipes to be reused for the next semester. They are becoming quite vocal, as there is a Facebook group called, “Let Us Save Our Swipes and Our Dollars: Support Better Meal Plans at UMass.”

The group already has over 877 members supporting the proposed change,  despite the fact that there are many different options for meals plans like the value plan, unlimited and your campus meal plan (YCMP), just to name a few. Not all the swipes from any student’s given meal plan in a semester may be used. This leads to a great waste of money.

The SGA is advocating for meal swipes to be rolled over, with options to combine reused swipes with smaller incremented meal plans. Students, according to this proposal, would also have the option of reusing swipes at convenience stores around campus to help students stock up their fridges on and off campus, or for allowing willing students to donate their YCMP swipes to buy food for charity. Such a measure would be very useful and practical for students.

As of Feb. 3., SGA members have already spoken to Director of Auxiliary Services Ken Toong. They have also brought up what they see as positive features of other institutions’ meal plans like Colgate University, University of New Hampshire and the University of Missouri. A reformed and revised plan would likely roll over pretty well with many students.

Often times, people are ordering delivery food during the weekend and sometimes during the week. During hectic midterms and finals weeks there are opportunities to go to the dining commons and use a swipe. It’s inevitable for many people, especially those that work part-time, full-time or participate in many Registered Student Organizations, to have numerous unused swipes.

As a junior, I am currently on the Platinum YCMP plan. I had over 40 swipes left at the end of the last semester. After finals, I ended up going down to 10 before I left home for winter break. But in previous semesters, I wasn’t as fortunate, and had about 40 to 60 swipes left. With each meal being worth about $8.50, that can add up to an upsetting amount of wasted money.

This is money that could be used to pay for books, gas, car expenses and general spending money. In my experience in previous semesters, as I’m sure with a lot of people, this could add up to $340 to $480, money  I’m sure a lot of you would like to get back in some form or another.

Another policy that has been of some debate that the SGA is trying to fix is a new policy that was enacted last semester, which mandates that students living on-campus, except within the North Apartments, must obtain a meal plan. Honestly, I’m fine with having an on-campus meal plan, but mandating it upon legal adults, many of whom are working part or full-time to pay their way through school is absurd. Most college students are presumably of legal age to make such decisions. If students are trusted with the ability to borrow loans to help pay tuition and expenses, the ability to feed oneself should be an individual decision.

The only potential problem that may arise is how the school can realistically pull this off without the fees of other services going up. A sustainable plan of maximum benefit to both parties must be well-crafted and implemented in order to fully satisfy all the parties involved. It has yet to be seen how this may realistically pan out, but such a proposal has been a long time coming.

With a little bit of planning and thought, our meal swipes won’t have to potentially go to waste. A new and comprehensive plan that allows for more freedom and choice for members of the student body can be instated. Compulsory meal plans for on-campus students can be negated once again, and the students can be treated like the responsible adults that they are.

Seyi Obasa is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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