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Lack of University meal options prompts students to grocery shop, budget

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Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 8:15 pm | Updated: 8:58 pm, Tue May 22, 2012.

Students may have to budget their food money differently this year, as University Dining Services will not be offering a summer meal plan.

The decision was due in part to the closing of the Falcon’s Nest because of construction in the Union, said Adam Koons, marketing assistant for University Dining Services.

“We didn’t want students to buy [a meal plan] and find we didn’t have much open,” Koons said.

In previous years, a meal plan was offered during the summer and some options were open in the Falcon’s Nest, such as BG Sub and 2.Mato 2.Nite, Koons said.

This summer, Starbucks, The Peregrine Shop and Dunkin’ Donuts will be available during certain hours to students, as well as a hot dog cart during lunch, which will be outside of the Union.

The cart, called “Mess Haul,” began serving lunch Monday and will be out during the summer and into the fall from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. as long as the weather allows, Koons said.

Students, faculty and staff lined up to sample the cart’s offering.

“It’s pretty cool,” senior Paul Fox said. “I like it because I only have a 30 minute lunch, it works.”

Fox works on campus at Information Technology Services and, with the Falcon’s Nest closed, he plans to venture off campus to find food.

“I usually go near Dairy Queen and everything,” Fox said.

Courtney Butler, a freshman who commutes to campus for class each day, also purchased food from the cart.

“I think it’s nice because there’s nothing inside [the Union],” Butler said.

Butler said she isn’t sure what she will do for lunch during the rest of the summer.

“I guess I’ll pack from home,” Butler said. “I normally eat at Wendy’s or get a sandwich from Outtakes.”

Koons said the absence of a summer meal plan may require students to budget more.

“A lot more money management [will be needed], which we’re working on to help students plan their money,” Koons said.

Dining Services has recently partnered with Student Money Management Services to help students learn how to budget their money when they don’t have a meal plan, Koons said.

“We hope it can be a learning experience,” he said. “Anytime that kind of question comes up we recommend them.”

Student Money Manage-ment Services offers students the opportunity to schedule an appointment in the office or on the phone and are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays in 205 Moseley Hall.

Patricia Donnelly, program manager at Student Money Management, offered a few tips for students eating on a budget.

“First, start tracking the amount [you’re] spending in that area,” Donnelly said. “Second, if this is the first time [you] have paid for [your] own meals or grocery shopped … find a roommate or a friend to share it with.”

Donnelly recommended students pretend they are going to buy groceries and just go to the store to figure out what they will have to buy and the total money it costs.

She recommended keeping communication open between the student and their roommate, or whoever they are sharing the shopping with, to show they can manage the cost.

Students can also get creative with their food money, Donnelly said. She said students may even find they like not having a meal plan.

“Some students may discover that they don’t need to spend that much money on a healthy diet,” Donnelly said.

 

Food options this summer:

-Starbucks, Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., closed weekends

-Peregrine Shop, Monday-Friday 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., closed weekends. It will have soups, sandwiches, salads, snacks and beverages.

-Dunkin Donuts, Saturday-Sunday 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

-"Mess Haul" hot dog cart, Monday-Thursday 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., weather permitting

*Information provided by Dining Services

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