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New meal plans with more Board Bucks proposed for next semester

by Rebecca Fiore / Beacon Staff • February 28, 2013

New meal plan options will likely be available to students as early as next semester as the college works to respond to student feedback about dining services.

According to Jay Phillips, associate vice president for facilities and campus services, the first new meal plan would offer unlimited access to the dining hall and 300 Board Bucks. The second includes 80 meals from the dining hall and 800 Board Bucks.

Emerson currently offers six different plans. The Flex Plan provides 101 meals and 650 Board Bucks per semester. The Commuter Plan offers 50 meals and 150 Board Bucks. Block Plan I has 158 meals and 350 Board Bucks, and Block Plan II has 130 meals and 500 Board Bucks. Weekly Plan I offers 14 meals per week and 100 Board Bucks, and Weekly Plan II has nine meals per week and 500 Board Bucks.

He said that the Flex Plan will most likely remain as the default plan. 

“These two new options may be slightly more expensive than the Flex Plan, but will likely provide the alternate choices desired based on feedback received,” Phillips said. 

Phillips said the college is also looking to switch its food service provider. The contract with Emerson’s current provider Aramark expires at the end of this school year, according to Phillips. He said a Dining Services Team is looking into other providers such as Sodexo, Chartwells, and Bon Appetit.

“A [request for proposal] is being developed and will likely be distributed in the late spring,” Phillips said. “Our goal is to select the provider for the new contract with the goal to commence with the new academic year next fall.”

Currently, Emmanuel College uses Bon Appetit and Suffolk University uses Sodexo. 

Phillips said the Dining Services Team is planning to add vending machines in the Paramount and evaluate prices of products offered in the C-Store. 

Some students are in favor of the plan that includes more Board Bucks. Freshman Allison Rand said she rarely eats at the dining hall.

“I’ve used Board Bucks much more this semester,” said the visual and media arts major. “I’m concerned already now. I have about 200 [left]. I live in Paramount, so it’s easier to go downstairs [to the Paramount Cafe] for me.”

Students who live on campus are automatically placed on the Flex Plan, but have the option to switch plans.  

“I don’t like eating at the [dining hall]. It is dirty, and I don’t like the food,” said Sarah Stein, a freshman
 marketing communication major.

According to an initiative written last year, the Student Government Association asked for a meal plan with only Board Bucks, and a greater variety in plan choices. It also asked for extended hours at the dining hall, and for meal services to re-evaluate the prices of their items. 

Phillips said his team evaluated student feedback to determine what changes the dining services at Emerson needed. 

At the SGA meeting Tuesday, Vice President Caitlin Higgins said she presented a proposal for changes to the dining hall to Phillips last year. 

“We passed an initiative, but never found out what happened,” the senior journalism major said. “Apparently Jay Phillips has actually been using it to make improvements over the past year.”