Beginning fall 2017, all students living on campus will be required to purchase a meal plan that is overpriced and wasteful, with the possibility of extra swipes being squandered at the end of the semester.
The details of the new plan can be found on KSU’s Dining web page, which states “beginning in fall 2017, freshmen and sophomores with 0-59 earned credit hours living in campus housing will automatically be assessed a meal plan for $1,890,” and that “juniors and seniors with 60 or more earned credit hours living in campus housing will automatically be assessed a meal plan for $489.”
Admittedly, this practice is common for most American universities, according to NBC, but that doesn’t make it any more affordable. It’s important to consider that many students don’t have any other option but to live on campus. Students with majors located primarily on Marietta campus are required to live on campus their first year, according to KSU’s Housing and Residence Life.
Additionally, Kennesaw campus offers unique housing communities for students who are queer, disabled or international. This makes living on campus the best choice for many because it can be extremely difficult for transgender and disabled people to find housing that they can comfortably live in. It also helps international students navigate a new country, culture and possibly a new language. Other students may find themselves without transportation unless they choose to live on campus.
On another note, students with special dietary needs will be forced to pay for hundreds of meals in a dining hall that provides them with limited options. According to USA Today, Brown University has eliminated this problem entirely by creating a menu that excludes the main food allergens from their kitchen.
Other schools have made The Best Colleges list for top 10 colleges with the most “cutting-edge” meal plans due to changes made to their meal plans or dining halls, but the bar seems pretty low. Oklahoma State University made the cut simply because they allow meal plan swipes to roll over into following semesters.
With all these issues in mind, I propose that KSU offer students affordable and customizable meal plans with better options for those who have special dietary needs.
In the meantime, those of us required to buy meal plans can use our extra swipes to feed hungry people, which can be done through ShareMeals, a food-sharing smartphone app.