Its a well-known fact that most BU students don’t hold Aramark, the campus food service, in high revere.  The way I see it is that no matter how delicious the food is that you eat, wherever you are, the mere fact that you’re consuming the same stuff two or three times a day, every day is bound to make you grow tired of it sooner or later.  (The only exceptions being pierogis, Rita’s water ice, and candy corn) With that being said, I’ll spare you the usual “BU student upset with campus food” rant, and instead argue bitterly about a related topic-  the daily meal period.

In short, the Bloomsburg meal plan divides the day up into four consecutive sessions, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late-night, and allows you to use one meal swipe per session.  This idea is actually an improvement over last year’s plan which had awkward layover times between meal periods in which only flex could be used to make purchases.  While I suppose I should be celebrating this “improvement”, the real issue at hand continues to go unaddressed.

The fact that we students are restricted to when we can use our meal swipes is the root of the problem.  I currently pay for 14 meals a week.  I should be allowed to use them whenever I want.  

Say you get out of class 4:15 and want to get something to eat.  No problem, head on over to the dining center of your choice,grab your food, and go on your merry way.  Say, however, you’re hungry again around 7 o’clock.  Aramark won’t let you use a meal swipe because that smoothie you got after class is technically during the “dinner period.”  Your options are therefore limited to either waiting around until the “late night” session starts at 9:30, or fork up the cost using flex or cash.  If you’re anything like me, when you’re hungry, you want to eat as soon as possible.  Also if you’re anything like me, you tend to run out of flex extremely fast.

The question I’m asking is why in that situation can’t we just use another meal swipe?  If I have 14 during the week I should be allowed to use them whenever I want.  One argument might be that it is for our own good that it is set up this way, that way we are forced to conserve our meal swipes to last the week.  Last time I checked, however, the point of going away to college is to learn responsibility.  How are we supposed to learn responsibility if we are continually (and unwantedly) babied by food service?  If I run out of meals on Wednesday, that’s my own fault.  Believe me, I’ll learn my lesson for the next time.  But don’t make me starve or fork over flex when I already have swipes that I have paid for just sitting around idly.  Also, if the cost of my meal is $6, let me use two meals to cover the cost instead of having to dish out $1.75 in flex.

This brings me to another gripe-  guest meals.  Again, I paid for these “extra” meals, I should be able to use them as they were mine.  Obviously these are usually reserved for friends or family who come to visit during the year, but should you not use them up, they should revert back to you.  This would especially come in handy if you’re running out of meals at the end of the day or week.

But, as we all know, food service doesn’t care about our dwindling flex account or us missing the lunchtime cutoff by five minutes.  The more meals we don’t use on a given week means more profit for Aramark, so obviously this rule is set up to rip us off even further. (Related ripoffs include: the fact that meals don’t carry over from week to week, the fact that you can only use three swipes in one day during the week and only two per day on the weekends, the whole idea of “premium points”, the fact that everyone who lives on campus is required to have some sort of meal plan….I could go on all day).

In the meantime we’ll just be herded along like sheep as we watch ourselves continue to be swindled, that is unless we do something about it. 

Any ideas?

(Image by Learn Hub)