More food, same prices

Changes to meal plans offered this fall include the introduction of a new All-Access meal plan which gives students unlimited meal swipes.

Lydia Hansen, Reporter

Meals just became unlimited under the new All-Access meal plan offered this fall.

Required for resident first-years and sophomores but available to all Hamline students, the All-Access plan grants students endless meals at Bishop’s Bistro and $400 of declining balance for use at other campus dining locations. The All-Access plan replaces the previous 160- and 220-Block plans, which gave students limited meal swipes and $800 or $400 of declining balance.

“I hope students are more satisfied, that they’re able to feel like it’s a plan that really meets their needs,” Dean of Students Patti Klein said of the new plan, which she said is also intended to combat food insecurity among residential students.

The new plan is accompanied by an expansion of hours at Bishop’s Bistro. Formerly limited to posted mealtimes, the Bistro is now open continuously throughout the day.

Hot food is served during mealtimes, but foods like cereal, bread, beverages and the afternoon soup and salad bar will remain open throughout the day.

“Basically, something will be open from 7:15 (a.m.) to 7:30 (p.m.),” Director of Campus Dining Ed Kreitzman said, although he noted the Bistro closes at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and is only open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekends.

Senior Anya O’Connor, a psychology and philosophy double-major, said the All-Access plan is better than the previous 160- and 220-Block plans.

“Even if you run out of declining balance, you’re not left at the end of the year with one meal and a week to go,” O’Connor said.

However, Trevor Witt, also a senior and a legal studies and philosophy double-major, said he prefered having the option of choosing a higher amount of declining balance.

“I think it’s way worse because I only eat here one meal a day four times a week, so I miss out on $400 of declining balance and have all these meals I don’t use,” Witt said.

Klein said she recognized the constraint a lower declining balance total would have on some students. However, she said the extended hours at the Bistro should help students like Witt who used declining balance to dine between designated mealtimes be able to get those same snacks or meal options for free using a meal swipe.

“The idea behind the declining balance was to supplement the dining room not being open all the time,” Klein said. “The hope is that by creating what we’ve created, students aren’t going to see that limited piece with the declining balance.”

Another change is the automatic addition of 10 guest meals, which is also provided in the 75-Block plan available to upperclassmen.

Something else new this fall is a To-Go Program, where students can use reusable containers to pack a meal from the Bistro to eat later. Students can exchange a redeemable card available from Dining Services for a free container.

Ultimately, by combining unlimited access with extended hours, Klein hopes to create a healthier design for student dining where students do not feel pressured to stuff themselves to get the full value of their meal swipes.

“The design behind all of it is the idea of really truly creating the serving area to really be the students’ kitchen, if you will,” Klein said.