New meal plan system to be implemented beginning 2012-2013


by Mariah Young

The major addition of the Kent Campus Center (KCC) to Simpson triggered significant changes to the meal plan for the upcoming academic year.


These changes include an increase in flex dollars, a variance in meal use and different plans for Greek and apartment residents. The overall objective is to give students more flexibility.


“With the completion of Kent Campus Center and the renovation of Pfeiffer Dining Hall, there will be several new eating venues available to students as well as an expanded selection of food items in Pfeiffer,” said Jim Thorius, vice president of planning and student development. “Simpson College decided it was a good time to review its current meal plans to determine if there was a better way to allow students the flexibility to use their meal plans in all establishments.”


The basic format of the new meals plans includes a number of “block meals” as well as a certain amount of “flex dollars” to spend.


“Block is essentially the same as “meal” however the new plan is based on blocks per semester rather than meals per week,” Thorius said. “You can use your blocks to purchase an ‘all you can eat’ meal at Pfeiffer, or you can apply it to the cost of a meal at one of the venues in Kent Campus Center.”


There will be two basic plan options offered to students at $4,103; the same price currently paid.


Meal plan A includes a block of 150 meals per semester with a $275 flex budget. This gives students 11 meals and $4.75 to use weekly.


Meal plan B offers students a block of 200 meals per semester, equaling 14 meals a week, with only $75 dollars flex.


 Students will be allowed to use as many or as few block meals as they would like in a week at KCC or Pfeiffer.  Once they run out of their block meals for the semester they would need to purchase more.  


Another change from the current system is that flex dollars will roll over to the next semester, but not into the next academic year.


 Changes have also been made to the special cases on campus for residents residing in Greek houses and apartments.


Greek residents will automatically be enrolled in  meal plan A, but these students will also receive five meals a week at their house.


“The plan for Greek chapters is for those chapters who choose to take advantage of this option,” Thorius said. “The Greek plan provides a good blend for in-house dining with access to the variety of food options on campus.”


Finally, the students choosing apartment housing will receive the most significant change.


The cost of their meal plan will increase $700 to $2,623. This meal plan includes a block of 100 meals as well as $250 flex.


“I think it’s necessary to have this increase,” said Paul Salais, senior and student body vice president.  “The apartments will still be less expensive than any residential hall and groceries will still be an option. Despite the price jump it’s cheaper, and they will feel inclined to experience Kent.”


If a student was to run out of meals or flex dollars, they always have the opportunity to purchase more. Additional flex is available in $25 increments, and a block of 20 meals can be purchased for $60.


Several factors went into determining the stipulations for the new meal plan.


Administration noted that all of person’s ‘meals-per-week’ were used and decided venturing away from this system would serve students better. The current plans are the result of recommendations from the food service company, looking at similar programs at other colleges and consultation with students.


Joe Sorenson, senior and student body president, seems to be satisfied with the new meal plan, but understands that everyone may not be completely on board at first.


“With any change, there will be a learning curve in how to best use the blocks,” Sorenson said. “The administration must be proactive in educating students about how block plans work and be open about how they can resolve any issues.”