EMMELINE ENDRESEN ’21
Chartwell’s District Marketing Director Kayla Hawley met with the Student Government Association (SGA) on Sunday, Feb. 26 to discuss Chartwells focus groups and workshop ideas regarding future changes to Trinity’s meal plans. Ms. Hawley has spent the past week looking at how the current meal plans are working and will be presenting the information she collected to Chartwells this Wednesday, Feb. 28. She affirmed that there “can and should be changes to the meal plan,” as it has remained the same for ten years.
Breaking it down by meal plan, the discussion opened with a review of the traditional 19 plan. This plan consists of 19 meals a week and no flex dollars. The general consensus of SGA was that this is too many meals. Instead, it was suggested that the price for the plan stays the same, but with a reduction to the amount of meals a week and an addition of a commensurate amount of flex. Many attendees observed that a large problem with this plan is limitations on being able to eat at the Cave or Bistro and that perhaps it would be improved by making these dining locations more accessible.
The second part of the discussion revolved around the flex meal plan. This plan includes 15 meals a week with 300 flex dollars per semester. Similar to the T19 plan, many voiced the belief that this is too many meals, and labeled the ideal number of meals to be in the 10 to 12 range. However, a few attendees who are athletes maintained that 15 meals are a good amount, but conceded that perhaps the plan includes too much flex for what is actually available. One attendee brought up a concern about having too many meals at the end of each week, resulting in a devaluing of meal prices and feeling the need to use up unneeded meal swipes at the Cave. In response to this, Ms. Hawley proposed implementing a system of monthly or even bi-weekly meals. However, she cautioned that the amount of meals for such a system would be determined by “feeding days,” and therefore the amount of meals might differ from month to month depending on school vacations, etc.
Ms. Hawley and SGA then moved on to reviewing the senior meal plan, which consists of 10 meals and 400 flex dollars. The seniors at SGA could all agree that this is the best meal plan. They talked about it being the cheapest, with the least amount of meals and the most amount of flex dollars, making it the most flexible plan. There was consensus that this plan should be made available for everyone and not just seniors, and that a kitchen is not needed for it to apply. A few attendees did say that they thought there was too many flex dollars for the options available on campus, and that the Cave and Bistro should stock more basic groceries in order to make use of the extra flex. One SGA member stated that this plan has “the best ratio of meal to flex.”
The meeting concluded with a more general discussion of Chartwells. The question of shifting hours arose in terms of making dining options more available to students. One suggestion was taking hours from late night cave as this is an option that many students do not take advantage of. The proposal of late night bistro instead was met with enthusiasm as this would address the problem of Goldberg’s closing next year and needing a late night spot for students to congregate. Finally, there was a call to improve the quality of food in general as well as to make sure that food stays out and available right until the end of operating hours.