Mandatory meal plan unfair to students

Keene State College is known for its spacious and modern dining facility – The Zorn Dining Commons. The building is the only full service dining facility on campus, and operates Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Friday 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The dining commons does a fairly good job providing options that students can pick from. Included is a full salad bar, a soup station, a sandwich/wrap area, a main meal option, a vegan section, pizza station, burgers and fries, pasta station, cereal, a yogurt bar and a dessert table, among many other things.

Despite the beautiful facility with a fair amount of options, some students have expressed concerns with the commitment to a meal plan. According to the Keene State College Dining Services website, “Plan reductions or cancellations are only allowed for students not living in traditional campus housing and must be done within the first thirty days of the semester.”

In other words, students who live on campus, (mainly first-year students and sophomores) are expected to pay for and utilize a meal plan. The Equinox is not arguing that having a meal plan is a bad thing by any means.

Photo by Tim Smith / Photo Editor and Photo Illustration by George Amaru / Art Director

Photo by Tim Smith / Photo Editor and Photo Illustration by George Amaru / Art Director

We do however believe in allowing the students to make their own choices. We believe if a student feels they would rather go without a meal plan, they should be able to make that decision for themselves.

Whether the reason be that they have eating restrictions, aren’t very mobile or have difficulty getting to the dining commons three plus times a day or they simply don’t enjoy the food offered, they should be allowed to have the option to choose for themselves.

We believe that college-aged students should be considered adults. Many of us work tirelessly to support ourselves and pay for our educations. With adult responsibilities should come adult freedoms.

The basic freedom of choice is something we believe is fundamentally important. Even when it comes to something as simple as deciding whether or not to have a meal plan.

Having a meal plan in college is not for everyone and we wish the college officials would recognize that. Forcing students to pay large sums of money to utilize the dining commons can be seen as unfair.

We do not believe that the dining commons is an unreasonable place to eat or anything of that nature, but we encourage the school to take another look at its policy and consider giving students a choice.

Having a meal plan varies for all different students. For some, they have the meal plan only because they are obligated to. By the time some juniors and seniors move off campus, they have no meal plan at all.

This is a personal choice for those students. Some want to give themselves more experience in the kitchen, cooking their own meals. Other students have full meal plans for their senior year. Some students find that having a meal plan is convenient as they are on campus all day and enjoy the easy access to the food right at their disposal.

Ultimately we believe it should be the choice of the individual. Regardless of if a student is traditional or nontraditional, lives on or off campus, has eating restrictions or not, we believe students shouldn’t be chained to a certain meal plan. We stand for freedom of choice.

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