Running Low on FLEX Already?: A Closer Look into On-Campus Food Services

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Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Lily Nardozzi of Professor John-Erik Koslosky’s Newswriting course and was edited by Nicholas Kline of Koslosky’s Editing for Journalism course.

BLOOMSBURG—Starting in fall 2017, Bloomsburg University is bringing new meal options to its students. The University Residence Life website states that the university has “partnered with ARAMARK…on campus sales exceeds $10 million annually.” And though the new additions are nice, students on campus have been airing their grievances in regard to some of the flaws in the new changes to the food options on campus

The newly available dining choices on campus include Chick-Fil-A, Qdoba, and the P.O.D. Express. And although all on campus dining halls offer the option of paying with FLEX dollars, the new additions accept FLEX/cash payments exclusively, leaving out the option of using a ‘meal swipe’.

According to Residence Life, the meal plan costs range from $945 a semester to almost $2,000 a semester. Students that were interviewed gave their opinions on the services they should be provided when paying as much as they do each semester.

Senior, Anthony Maletestinic, gave his input on his feelings of the food services from when he began at Bloomsburg University stating, “My favorite thing about campus food is how convenient it is and how nice the workers are. My dislike is that the new places don’t offer meal plan options.”

The Residence Life website gave more information as to why the cash equivalents do not work at Starbucks, Roongo’s, Chick-Fil-A and Qdoba. The website stated “Those facilities were not designed for Cash Equivalency mostly due to their size. If Cash Equivalency were offered there the lines would be unmanageable and overall satisfaction in those facilities would decline. However, you are welcome to use FLEX, Husky Gold, cash or credit (VISA and Master Card only) for a change of pace.”

Another BU Senior, Zoe Hoffman, discussed her feelings on the options available on campus. She described her love for the salad options at the Scranton Commons but also her dislike for the lack of gluten free dessert options on campus.

Along with Zoe and Anthony, Alyssa Bednash, a BU Junior, gave her input on the Green 2 Go option in the Husky Lounge. She talks about how she enjoys “the healthy option of a salad and all of the vegetable/protein options, but I dislike the fact that they don’t have a wide selection of dressing choices.”

A prevalent issue at Bloomsburg University is students mismanaging their FLEX balance. As most students know, each meal plan comes with either $250 FLEX dollars or $300 FLEX dollars. Regardless of which option is selected, neither is sustainable to last an entire semester if they choose to utilize the new options often.

Madison Stello, a BU Junior, expressed her appreciation for the new Chick-Fil-A but also mentioned that she dislikes “that it’s not a meal and FLEX because FLEX runs out quickly.”

Residence Life’s website did mention that there are ways to add more FLEX dollars to your account throughout the semester. The website states that “FLEX dollars can be added to your account in any increment above $25…”

The students of Bloomsburg do enjoy the food services offered here but are looking for a little more bang for their buck.

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