DSL announces new dining plan options

Students involved in creation of new dining plan option since winter 2016

The Division of Student Life (DSL) has announced new dining plan options that will go into effect next year. This is the first major update since fall 2011.

A full description of the new dining plan options is available on the DSL’s website, in addition to The Tech’s summary from last week.

Some of the major changes include Dining Dollars that can be used at retail locations across campus, voluntary plans for students who live off campus or in cook-for-yourself communities but want the convenience of an occasional dining hall meal, and swipes that roll over until the end of the semester. There is also a possibility of opening Rebecca’s Late Night Café in Walker Memorial to the dining plan in future years.

“Early feedback has been positive, with some questions about how and where Dining Dollars can be used,” Suzy Nelson, vice president and dean for student life, wrote in an email to The Tech.

Overall, these changes are meant to reflect increased flexibility, options, and quality without substantial increases in cost, according to the DSL website. The Dining Data Review Working Group’s findings in 2016 recommended enhancements in six areas, including increased plan value and expanded late-night options, Nelson wrote.

Kelly Chen ’21, a Simmons resident, told The Tech she is excited for the new meal plan. “Since I don't usually use all my meal swipes on the Basic 14, the lowest meal plan allowed for Simmons freshmen, I can now have fewer meals and also pay for fewer meals.”

Ayesha Ng ’21 shares a similar sentiment as Chen. “I appreciate the flexibility in dining options so that we’re able to more freely choose both where and when we want to eat,” Ng told The Tech.

Students have been involved in the process of creating the new meal plan structure since the working group review began in winter 2016. Their findings kicked off a discussion between DormCon, the Undergraduate Association, and DSL about potential dining plan enhancements. Those discussions carried over to fall 2017 and involved the House Dining Committee and the heads of house, who helped shape the final structure, Nelson explained.

The company that has been awarded the new dining contract will be announced later this semester, according to Nelson.