Students skeptical about meal plan

By Talesha Herbert

Even though the fall semester is almost over, students still struggle with the new meal plan.

“Even though students loved it, we had to take it away from them,” said Melodie Thomas, coordinator of contracts and assignments for Student Housing and Dining Services.

Thomas said the new plan came about after complaints by local merchants.

“Housing and dining became aware of their concerns and made the decision to not allow the meal plan dining dollars to be used in annexes,” Thomas said. “That’s why we lowered the dollar amount and came up with Huskie Bucks to supplement the meal plan.”

What used to be known as dining dollars is now called “a weekly declining balance allocation,” Thomas said.

A weekly declining allocation consists of the gold meal plan & $50 per week; platinum plan & $75 per week; and the titanium plan & $100 per week.

“In the beginning of each semester, students are able to charge Huskie Bucks to their Bursar account, kind of like a pre-paid credit card,” said Brian Smith, manager of the Annex and cafeteria in Lincoln Hall.

Although many students may feel upset and inconvenienced about the new meal plan, Thomas describes it as “a good deal, you can’t go wrong.”

Students disagree.

“I think it was a sad idea for them to change the plan from last year,” said Lakiesha Dunn a sophomore business marketing major and resident of Douglas Hall. “I don’t think the meal plan this year is helpful to the students because it forces us to go other places to buy food. Last year you couldn’t keep students out of the Annex.”

The Huskie Bucks, a supplement to the meal plans, can still be used elsewhere on and off campus.

Huskie Bucks can be used for laundry in the residence halls, to purchase food on campus in dining areas and snack shops in Stevenson, Neptune and Lincoln. They also can be used in Pepsi machines on campus with a NIU OneCard.

Huskie Bucks are used for food purchases off-campus as well. The Village Commons Bookstore, Harold’s Chicken, Hot Spot, Subway and Pita Pete’s all accept Huskie Bucks among other places.

Thomas said students have the option to request a refund at the end of the semester to reclaim their unused Huskie Bucks, or they will roll over to the next semester.

“It really is amazing how many options a student can have,” Thomas said. “Students will become accustomed if the meal plan stays the same, and hopefully it will.”