Sohan Gade ‘23 (he/him)

Students enjoy a meal outside of Vail Commons. Photo by Sydney Schertz’ 24

On March 10th, all Davidson students received an email from the college about the new dining plans for next year. Currently, students have the choice of either a block or “allowance” meal plan. The traditional dining plans range from the 75 Block Plan (75 meals a semester) to the most expensive 21 Meal Plan, which includes 21 meals over the course of a week. 

The email outlined Dining Services’ reasoning for the change, citing “flexibility,” among other factors. One current issue Dining Services emphasized is that first-year students are only able to use meal swipes at Davis Café at certain times. 

“Although I have a meal plan through my fraternity, I am happy that there are less restrictions on what times first-years go to Union [Davis Cafe] now. Everyone is going to have to use dining dollars for Union breakfast instead of just first-years,” said Ian Macel ’24. The new meal plans do not affect the fraternity or eating house meals.  

One new plan is an All Access, or unlimited, dining plan, which first-years are required to purchase. This will replace the traditional 21 Meal Plan as the most expensive option.

Two other key differences between the old and new plans are that meal swipes will only cover meals at Vail Commons and that the new plans allow for more dining dollars. Currently, the 16 Meal Plan offers 16 meals a week with 400 dining dollars, the most of any plan. The new 10/week Plus will offer 1200 dining dollars. 

In the campus-wide email, SGA President Brandon Harris ‘22 expressed that the college was cooperative in the process of creating the new plans. “We appreciated that the college acted on our ideas and created more clarity and flexibility in the plans,” said Harris, “including helping students better plan for the whole semester.” 

Director of Dining Services Pinky Varghese also mentioned plans for a new dining location, which would affect which dining plans were used the most next year. 

“The new dining location which we will be opening in Fall 2021 will definitely play a very important role in [students] choosing a meal plan,” said Varghese. Dining services will release additional details on this new dining location next week.

The new dining plan does not include any block plans. Currently, there are two different block options:the 90-block plan and the 75-block plan, which are very popular with students living in apartments or off-campus housing. 

Molly Sherrill ‘22 expressed her concerns with the new meal plans on Facebook with calculations of the dollar value of each meal. According to her post, the cost per meal under the new plans ranges from $15.88 to $22.14, depending on the meal plan and whether or not a student chooses to go home for Thanksgiving break.  

“It seems kind of crazy that [they] would cost that much. Maybe they’re doing something like dining dollars are worth more than $1. I used the price of it, minus the dining dollars, divided by how meals you get,” said Sherrill. 

The recent changes to the meal plan is one of several changes students observed this semester, including Summit Outpost, or “Nummit”, changing ownership and the prohibition of Patterson Court Council organizations from using outside chefs, which has since been reversed.  

Overall,  Varghese and the Dining Services team remain hopeful that the new plans will give students more flexibility over their meals.