Meal swipes valued differently at on-campus dining locations


Photo credit/ Kelsey Van Horn

Rachel Looker, Asst. News Editor

The price of an on-campus meal varies depending on where you eat it, and that has left some students questioning the meal plan programs.

Meal swipes at Nazareth Dining Hall, Marywood’s main dining location, are valued higher than the meal swipes at other on-campus locations. This difference in the value of meal swipes affects the prices students pay for meal plans each semester.

When eating at Nazareth Hall, students have two options. They can use one meal swipe from their meal plan or, according to DineOnCampus, pay the $15 door rate to access the cafeteria. That would make the value of one meal swipe equivalent to $15.

However, at any of the other on-campus dining locations, such as the Learning Commons Café, the Atrium, or First Stop, one meal swipe allows students to purchase food that costs up to only $6, a $9 difference from the Nazareth Hall value.

The price students pay for meal plans each semester does not take into account the differences in these meal swipe values, according to calculations made by The Wood Word. For example, if a resident student purchases a 150 block plan for their meal plan, they receive 150 meal swipes for the semester and $100 worth of Pacer Points, which act as cash at different on-campus dining locations.

According to Marywood’s website, the price for this plan for one semester is $2,368.

With the $100 subtraction of the Pacer Points that come with the plan, the net cost of meals is $2,268.

Given this total, each meal is valued at $15.12, almost identical to the $15 price of a non-swipe meal at Nazareth.

However, if a meal price is valued at only $6 at other on-campus dining locations, 150 meals per semester at this value would total just $900, a significantly smaller amount than the $2,268 Marywood charges students per semester.

According to Wood Word calculations, this is a $1,368 difference between how much students pay for meals each semester and how much students actually receive for a meal swipe if they choose to not eat at Nazareth.

This means that students only receive the full value of the money they pay each semester for a meal plan if they eat exclusively at Nazareth, a location that is seeing fewer students and offering fewer options.

According to Austin Fernandez, student government association’s food services representative, there are only 200 customers for lunch and 300 customers for dinner at Nazareth Dining Hall.

Joe Garvey, vice president for business affairs and treasurer said, “[Chartwells] would really prefer that you eat at Nazareth.”

According to Garvey, approximately $5.5 million was spent in renovations of the main dining hall. He said there are more choices offered, and the dining hall offers an all you can eat menu.

Students “get more bang for the buck if they eat at Nazareth,” said Garvey.

Some students say each meal swipe should be valued for more than $6 at other on-campus dining locations.

Sarah Liang, sophomore business management and marketing major, said purchasing a full meal usually costs her more than $6 at non-Nazareth dining locations.

“It seems like to get a drink, a side, and an entrée, it is always at least a little bit more than $6 so you are never really getting to use the points the way you want to,” said Liang.

Liang said even increasing the value of a meal swipe from $6 to $6.50 would help make a difference.

“I knew that was a student’s concern last year, and they did raise the price of the meal swipe up by one dollar, from $5 to $6,” said SGA’s Fernandez.

Even with this increase, the price of a meal swipe still does not match the value of what a meal is worth at Nazareth.

“I am really trying to work with Chartwells to continue to give you more for the price you are paying everywhere,” said Garvey.

Haleigh Zurek, sophomore nutrition major, says the price to eat at Nazareth is too high.

“My peanut butter and jelly sandwich is not worth the $15 that it takes to get into Nazareth,” said Zurek.

Maci Roos, freshman graphic design major, said she thinks the value of a meal swipe should remain at $6 at other on-campus dining locations.

“I don’t feel like it should be any higher at different locations because $15 [for Nazareth] is a lot of money, but you do get a lot of variety and you can eat as many plates as you want,” said Roos.

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