Meal plans are unfair to underclassmen
While the last option seems the most favorable, my freshman standing makes it impossible, as an incoming freshman cannot sign up for the smallest meal plan. On the surface, it just looks like Wash. U. is trying to give freshmen a cushion in case they go a little overboard with the salads, with the sushi or at Ibby’s. If one digs a little deeper, however, it becomes apparent that Wash. U. freshmen, because of the limitations on their meal plans, are paying nearly all of the overhead that is associated with WUSTL Dining Services.
Wash. U. boasts great food, dining halls and workers. While I have yet to be disappointed in any of these and doubt I ever will be, the quality comes at a price. Freshman are required to purchase the Silver Plan for $1.39 to one meal point ($4,300 for 3,100 meal points). The description of the plan that follows says that it is a plan that will “best meet the needs of those students who eat three meals a day and enjoy an occasional snack.” It also claims to be the most popular meal plan for the returning students. Now, while the first claim may be true, the second falls short. Many of Wash. U.’s students have done the math and realized that the Bronze Plan is the ideal one.
Students who have the Bronze Plan initially pay $1.50 for one meal point. Generally, they eat through that plan by the end and are either mooching off friends, starving, or using campus card (therefore paying one dollar for one meal point). By the time you have used 3,100 points, you pay exactly the same price as those with the Silver plan, with one giant caveat: The students with smaller plans more than likely use all their meal points. Though the points roll over at the end of the term, they don’t at the end of the year, so others in my position are forced to waste money. Sophomores buy the Bronze Plan, and juniors and seniors can have plans that are smaller still, leaving the freshman hung out to dry.
As a student, I understand the need for the inflated prices; they pay for the staff, dishes and supplies. But as a freshman, I do not feel that we should be shouldering most of the extra costs. The food and service we get at Wash. U. is phenomenal. It should not be taken for granted that we do not have to drudge through a buffet line looking at something that might or might not be a piece of meat. Obviously this food and service has to come at a price, but one group of students should not be shafted in order to pay the overhead costs that everyone contributes to.