Cory Van Gilst- Staff Writer
A few weeks into the semester, juniors are still reacting to the 5-meal plan imposed on them by the Dordt College Student Services at the close of last year. The plan met a significant amount of pushback from the student body when introduced last semester.
Robert Taylor, Dean of Student Life, explained that the purpose of the meal plan was to boost community on campus, to allow for a healthy diet plan among upperclassmen and to provide a cheap source of food for those having to cook in the apartments.
Now that the semester is in progress, juniors are experiencing how the meal plan impacts their daily lives. When asked about how often they used their meal swipes, many juniors said that they aim to use all five every week.
“Now that I have it, I use it,” junior Hannah Klos said. Several juniors also noted that the meal plan adds a certain level of convenience for their day by making lunch for class simpler or providing an easy post-practice meal for athletes. Many also acknowledged that maintaining a healthy diet was possible thanks to options at both the Grille and Commons.
But is the new meal plan reaching the expectations of community and savings laid out in the semester previous?
Unfortunately, not a single junior interviewed claimed that the meal plan was successful at improving community. Several mentioned that they have little-to-no desire to branch out to freshmen and would much rather spend their time with friends of their own social circles and class level.
“It’s not improving community,” junior Reggie Hostetler said. “It’s only maintaining what was already there.”
In addition, apartment roommates feel less connected due to the lack of consistent cooking and meal times together.
Opinions on the cost effectiveness of the plan were split. Rooms of people who buy in bulk found it cheaper to buy their own food, while others reasoned that certain items such as meat and fruit cost too much outside of the plan.
With a few weeks under their belts, the juniors’ opinion of the 5-meal plan continues to remain distinctly negative. Many are still upset that Dordt is requiring them to pay more for something that is, in their opinion, hindering their independence. Many hope to see changes or more options introduced somewhere along the road if the meal plan for upperclassmen becomes permanent. In the meantime, they will continue to visit the Grille and Commons to use the meals they have already paid for.