Jennifer Jung / Lantern photographer
Ohio State University Dining Services has expanded its available meal plan options for Fall Semester to include two weekly block plans that will reset every Sunday evening.
The new plans will offer either 25 or 20 weekly blocks, as stated in an email from Dining Services sent to students who have renewed their university housing contracts. Unlike the current meal plans that expire at the end of every semester, the new options will be used on a weekly basis, with blocks not accumulating throughout the semester.
Zia Ahmed, senior director of Dining Services, said the new plans should be useful for incoming students.
“We thought that if we could provide an additional option for students so that if you’re coming in as a freshman and you’re not quite comfortable with taking on or managing a big meal plan, along with everything else that you have to do, it will be nice to have that option for them,” Ahmed said.
The blocks meal plan is new to OSU this academic year with the semester conversion, and serves as a replacement to the swipes meal plan.
Earlier this year many students had extra blocks at the end of Fall Semester, and were refunded $3 for every block, worth $5 at campus dining halls, on their BuckIDs at the end of the term.
Although students will have more meal plan choices available, Ahmed said there are some issues students might encounter with the new plans. If they do not budget accordingly, students could run out of their allotted number of blocks before the week’s end.
The flexibility of the plans will likely be considered a positive feature for many students, Ahmed said.
Lauren McNulty, a second-year in microbiology, said while she will not be using a meal plan in the fall, she thinks the concept of a weekly plan might be beneficial for students.
“I feel like that’s probably a better idea than the 350 blocks or a set amount because you don’t have to worry about spending them all at the end,” McNulty said. “If I were to get a meal plan next year, I’d probably get that.”
Another change expected to occur in the fall is that the traditional plan will begin to offer unlimited access to traditional facilities and will now include four weekly blocks instead of two, Ahmed said. Students interested in traditional-style dining will then have the choice of the Unlimited 10 plan or the new Unlimited 4.
“We’re increasing options and we’re increasing flexibility,” Ahmed said.
Once the plans are put before the Board of Trustees for approval this summer, Ahmed said, the 25-block weekly plan will cost students $2,125 per semester, and the 20 block plan will cost $1,825. Both will include $150 in BuckID cash.
The Unlimited 4 plan will cost $1,800 per semester and is the only plan not to include a BuckID cash deposit. The Unlimited 10 will cost $2,550 per semester and will include $150 in BuckID cash.
All of the changes were made in response to student feedback, Ahmed said.
Catalina Fernandez, a graduate student in kinesiology, said while she plans to stick to a semester-long block plan next year, she still thinks students will be pleased with the changes.
“I think it will be better,” Fernandez said. “More options means happier people. It’s like an option for everybody. I think it will fit some people’s schedule preferences.”