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The Blue & Gray Press | October 17, 2017

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Campus dining offering new features to freshman meal plan

Campus dining offering new features to freshman meal plan

By SARAH GRAMMER

Having heard student comments last semester, Campus Dining at the University of Mary Washington has made changes to its “Anytime Dining” meal plans. Freshman students, who are required to purchase the “Anytime Dining” meal plan, had many complaints about the plan because their meals could only be spent in the UMW Dining Hall. This semester, Campus Dining is allotting “Anytime Dining” students up to 30 meals a semester to use at any on campus retail location.

These locations include Naturally Woodstock, Qdoba, Jamba Juice, Lil Joe’s, Vocelli Pizza, the Simply to-go Market and the Blackstone Coffee across from the HCC. The Eatz on the Other Street food truck is not included in the program.

The meal plans are determined by the University. Campus Dining implements these plans and policies.

It seems students, freshmen and upperclassmen are pleased with the compromise.

Freshman student, Emily Oliff, is happy with the changes, and says, “I think it’s nice to go to Vocelli’s and get a slice of pizza without worrying.”

Upperclassmen students are also glad to see the change. Many upperclassmen like Junior Calvin Augustine thought it was wrong that Campus Dining  limited the freshman’s options . Augustine says, “I didn’t think it was fair that they were forcing freshman [to have a meal plan with so few options].”

Junior political science major, JC Sevart, thinks the addition of options for freshmen will give them a better taste of the freedom that comes with living at college.

“I think giving them a little more options gives them the chance to experience college as a freedom,” Sevart said.

With this new addition to the “Anytime Dining” plan, Campus Dining has elected to cut University Buffet hours back to their original closing times, 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday. A few other changes include new menu items at Joe Stacks and weekday lunch bars at Chef’s Fare in the Dining hall.

According to Rose Benedict, unit marketing coordinator for University of Mary Washington’s Dining Services, the retail locations typically close later at night, giving students options after late-night classes.

“The change in the Anytime Dining plan allows students on that plan to use 30 meals for Meal Deals at retail campus dining locations,” Benedict said. “Since several of the retail locations are open until 10 p.m. most nights, students on the Anytime Plan can now dine on campus later in the evening without having to use a lot of Flex dollars,”

These changes are meant to accommodate students and give them the best dining experience possible, according to Benedict. And according to her, this is not a job that her or Dining Services take lightly.

“We are not here to just get by; to put in our hours and then go home,” Benedict said. “We are here to provide students with exceptional dining experiences and help get UMW known for having the best campus dining program in the state.”

While Campus Dining has made some important changes, students like Senior studio art major, Iainne Johnson, believe that there is more to be done.

“The Nest is a shadow of what it used to be,” Johnson said, “ I do like the addition of Qdoba, I like the food truck, but by dinner it was already closed.”

Though students seem to approve of dining changes thus far, in their eyes Campus Dining still has a long way to go before winning them over.