Implementation for new 150-block meal plan paused
Original 125-block plan will still be available in Fall 2019, with a $115 rise in price
The rollout of the new 150-block minimum meal plan will be paused for the next semester, Director of Campus Dining Mark Hayes announced in an email Wednesday. The email mentions inadequate communication and student involvement among reasons for pausing the change.
In a statement emailed to The Tech, Hayes wrote, “After hearing from students—including Undergraduate Association and DormCon leaders, House Dining Committee (HDC) members, and individual students—and heads of house, Dean [for Student Life] Suzy Nelson, DSL Executive Director for Administration Peter Cummings, and I felt that we hadn’t gathered sufficient student input to make the meal-plan changes, nor had we done an adequate job of communicating them.”
As a result, the meal plan options for Fall 2019 will be the same as this year’s. The prices of all meal plans have been increased in accordance with the Rate Increases FAQ published in March. The 125-block plan has also undergone a price increase, from $1,950 to $2,065 per semester.
Hayes wrote in his statement, “The six-percent price increase on all plans was announced in March in conjunction with MIT’s statement on financial aid. The increase is driven by the steady rise in operating costs—including labor and food—and is consistent with previous years’ price increases of between three and six percent.”
“The pause will allow us to engage stakeholders for help with designing a meal plan structure that meets our goals for the dining program,” Hayes wrote in the email statement. According to the announcement on Wednesday, Nelson has asked Hayes and Cummings to form a working group comprising students, heads of house, and staff to review the findings of a 2017 dining survey.
The working group is expected to address MIT Dining’s goals, which include maximizing choice, providing value, enhancing the undergraduate dining experience, improving food quality, and fostering community building. This working group is in addition to the Lobdell Dining working group and the HDC. MIT Dining is also looking into the addition of a grab-and-go lunch location on east campus, Hayes wrote in the email announcement.
In early April, MIT Dining announced a new minimum required meal plan for upper-level students living in dining hall dorms. The new plan would have increased the number of meals per semester from 125 to 150, and reduced the amount of dining dollars from $290 to $100. The meal plan price per semester would have also increased from $1,950 to $2,225.50.
In response, students voiced concerns over increased prices, lower flexibility, and unavailability of healthy or dietary-restriction-friendly meals in dining halls. These concerns were also brought up in a meeting of the HDC April 4.
A petition to MIT Dining to change the minimum meal plan back to the 125-block gathered 1,225 signatures. According to Hayes’ statement, this petition was received by MIT Dining and DSL after the decision to pause the change had been made.
Members of the MIT community can provide ideas for improving dining on campus by emailing email@example.com.