Changing economy brings new prices for Bear’s Den

Increase has not affected consumption

| Contributing Reporter

Although her official residence is Eliot House, freshman Hannah Fox has found another home—Bear’s Den.

“You could almost say Bear’s Den is my ‘den,’” Fox said while eating lunch with a few friends in the popular eatery.

The dining hall’s popularity may soon see a decline because, as of this past summer, Bear’s Den has implemented price increases on its food in an attempt to account for a recent surge in national food costs.

Hoping to help students through this nationwide shift, the University has raised the total number of possible meal points for all undergraduate meal plans by five percent. This move enabled students to purchase more points for their plans, allowing them to purchase as much food as they would have prior to the change.

“We’re not trying to make any more money for the University,” Assistant Vice Chancellor for Operations Steve Hoffner said. “We’re just trying to cover some of the price increases that have been passed to us.”

Although she may have to pay more, junior Kate L. Gallagher says her dining experience at Bear’s Den has not changed.

“I come to Bear’s Den almost everyday, mostly for breakfast and occasionally for lunch,” Gallagher said. “For me, I have to eat, so there’s not much I can do about it. The economy is not in my control.”

Sophomore John Menze echoed Gallagher’s sentiment. Though he visits Bear’s Den once or twice a day, Menze says he has yet to “even notice an incredible difference.”

The University is one of a number of institutions across the country that has been forced to adapt to the ever-changing state of the economy.

According to a recent brief from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Consumer Price Index is expected to increase by about five to six percent in 2008. As a result, the schools have had to charge their consumers more in order to make up for these higher costs.

“Food prices in general have skyrocketed over the summer,” Hoffner said. “Weather problems, high oil prices result in much higher gasoline prices for shipping the food and increased worldwide demand for commodities.”

Hoffner explained that the increase in meal points, however, was an attempt “to try to soften the impact on students.”

“The five percent increase in points was an across-the-board adjustment giving students more dining service points than they would have had,” he said.

As a consequence of the five percent point increase, students pay five percent more when they initially purchase their plan at the start of the school year.

For example, the Square Meal Deal plan had 2,920 points. It now has 3,066, an increase of 146 points.

Following this academic year, the number of meal plan points is expected to stay the same. Bear’s Den will be replaced by a new set of dining facilities currently under construction as part of a new student center on the South 40.

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening as Washington University returns to campus.