Changing the menu: New meal plans, dining hall renovations announced

Changing+the+menu%3A+New+meal+plans%2C+dining+hall+renovations+announced

Matthew Mitterhoff

Photos by Tatianna Troxell ’16

Proposed changes to Lafayette’s meal plans and dining locations were announced Monday, with the school saying that they were implementing these changes to further the “expansions and improvements [being made] to the Dining Program.”

Under the proposed plans, which will begin the fall semester of 2014, the class of 2017 and all ensuing classes will be required to have a meal plan that is a 20-meal a week plan. Rising sophomores will be required to enroll in either a 14-meal a week or a 20-meal a week plan. Rising juniors and seniors will be allowed to choose a flex-only meal plan, along with four other additional plans. Those who are in a fraternity will be exempt from these requirements.

“By implementing this plan, the College expects to continue…expanding and improving the Lafayette Dining Program,” Dean of Students Paul McLoughlin said in an email to the campus community. “In addition, with increased participation in meal plans, the College hopes to be able to reduce the cost-per-meal under some of the new meal plans when compared to the current meal plan choices.”

In addition to new meal plans, the college plans on renovating dining halls. Renovations to Lower and Upper Farinon will begin this summer, aiming to “improve the look and functionality” of the dining locations. Renovations to Gilberts and Marquis will take place the following summer.

Services provided by the dining halls will also change. These include advance online meal ordering, a takeout option, and increased open hours for different meal halls on campus. Dining halls will also become more specialized, offering only certain types of food in different locations.

“Bon Appetit will move us to more destination dining,” McLoughlin said. “So, instead of offering pizza in every location, pizza will be offered in one location, and if you want pizza, you go to that space…it creates a sense of destination about ‘where do you want to go?’”

McLoughlin also said that other changes suggested would be considered, such as lunch hours for Simon’s Cafe and Marquis Hall being open on weekends. He also said a student recently suggested adding a fourth meal period after dinner, allowing students to use a meal until 1 a.m. He also said considerations included reducing table sizes in Upper to two-to-four person accommodations and adding charging stations for laptops.

At a panel and tour held in Marquis Hall Wednesday, students voiced their concerns about the changes. Among them was apprehension at the fact that students were now required to have a meal plan, as well as the fact that students will no longer be able to utilize more than one meal plan when ordering food at retail locations.

The panelists, who included General Manager of Bon Appetit Joel Blice, said that the college is requiring meal plans for students in hopes that it will improve their dining experience by forcing students to interact with their peers at meal halls. They also said that at most schools besides Lafayette, meal plans are already required for all enrolled students.

While students are not happy about the changes made to the meal plan, they are in favor of the aesthetic changes being made to the dining locations.

“It’s a good idea,” Kathryn Schwacha ‘16 said. “Lower needs to be a lot bigger.”

The administration is hoping for a positive response from the students as the new changes are implemented.

“I know that students care a lot about their dining experience,” President Alison Byerly said in an email. “I hope that they will like many of the enhancements that are planned.”

Michael A. Kowaleski ‘14 and Aaron Levenson ‘15 contributed to this report.