A Meal-Point Black Market Won’t Cut the Waste

 

Rebekah Hwang/Guardian

Each year, come spring, the novelty of around-the-clock burrito access has worn off, and most students don’t know what to do with their gobs of excess dining dollars.

The Housing, Dining and Hospitality department, however, thinks it has just the answer. As part of a new pilot program beginning May 3, students will be able to swap their meal points with each other through the end of the quarter — the idea being that a student who is out of points will buy some from a friend with a surplus.

Whoopdie-fucking-doo.

Of course, there’s little harm in giving on-campus residents more control over the meal plans to which they’re already chained. After all, most of us don’t have the appetite — nor the trust fund — to blow our excess dining dollars on a two-speed blender from Goody’s Market.

But HDH’s half-baked attempt to improve the system skirts the real issue at hand: An overwhelming majority of students on campus have more meal points than they know what do with. In fact, a Winter Quarter HDH survey found that 74 percent of students living on campus have more meal points left than the budget suggests, while only 10 percent have less.

And let’s not forget that budget suggests each student’s meal-point excess will only worsen come Fall Quarter 2010, when students living on campus will face mandatory dining-dollar increases of up to $98.

The program is merely a test run, but in its current form, it’s covered in red tape. Not only must students seek out someone willing to snatch up their meal points, they also must sign off on the deal at the HDH office in Revelle College — a prospect as tempting as a cold slice of pepperoni-and-hair pizza from Plaza Cafe for the average overscheduled student.

Although this new program is being touted under the guise of student empowerment, we recommend that HDH — if the department is, in fact, interested in addressing a problem it obviously knows is there — consider allowing students to choose from a range of dining plans at the beginning of the year.

As it stands, every student in a residence hall is required to pay into a $2,795 yearly meal plan; on-campus apartments dwellers are required to pay $2,145 per year; neither has the option to buy a lesser amount. Most other major universities (including equally cash-strapped ones within the UC system) offer students a variety of meal plans, so it wouldn’t be unheard of for HDH to at least look into doing the same. In the meantime, we’ll have to make do with the department gouging us — with a cherry on top.

Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2505
$2500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$2505
$2500
Contributed
Our Goal