Students race to use meal swipes

Celeaciya Olvera

As it comes to the end of the school year, students are running low on energy and are yearning to get done with classes. In the following week, there are still resources that students need to be taken advantage of, such as meal swipes.

Every year, First-Year and sophomore students in dorms select what meal plans they would like out of the four options Augustana provides: any 19, any 15, any 12, any 10 or the Gerber Unlimited on-campus plan. There are options that may work better for upperclassmen, such as the 10, 25, 80 or 100 meal plan options. The amount of time students spend on campus will help dictate a meal plan they may want to add to their semester.  

For First-Years, it can be a bit intimidating to find the right meal plan because the idea of having enough food will continue to linger. With the semester coming to an end, students can use this time to reflect on themselves to learn what worked for them this semester and what did not.  Learning the takeaways of meal planning this semester can help students for the next year in the fall to either give themselves more swipes or less swipes.  

Senior Kaitlin Jacobson changed her meal plan as she progressed through the years because she realized that while living in the different residence facilities she would have more of a hands-on experience when it comes to dietary intakes.  

“You have to know your eating habits,” Jacobson said. “I think when picking a meal plan, it’s hard when you’re a freshman because you don’t know how often you’ll be going to the dining hall.” 

The great thing about dining at Augustana dining is that students have the ability to choose within the first two weeks of the semester to alternate their plans to better fit their schedule. It’s especially nice for students that are a lot more involved with on campus activities such as athletics and theatre.

Fred Kurt, the director of dining services, sees the benefit of having meal swipes because of the amount of locations they are accepted. Each location is satisfactory for all student’s schedules.   

Meal swipes are very convenient because they can be used at the Brew, Gus’ Snack Bar, Westerlin or the Gerber Dining Center,” Kurt said. “The Westerlin Market is a location that can use swipes up until midnight.”  

Each of these establishments have their own set hours; however the Westerlin Market can be more of an asset for students because it’s located in one of the residence halls, making it more manageable and less of a chore to leave their dorms to grab a meal.

First-Year Alice Sylvie works at the Gerber Center as her on-campus job. Sylvie is aware of the intake students have when using their meal swipes while at the same time what they do to get the most use out of their meal plan.

“I have not noticed students trying to up the amount of meal swipes they get,” Sylvie said “In fact, I usually see students with too many meal swipes at the end of the week. That’s when most of them go to the C-Store to use their remaining swipes.”

Kurt also mentioned that there is an increase of missed meal swipes during the spring semester due to the busier schedules of students. With less food consumption during the semester, there is perfectly good food that gets thrown away 

However soon enough, the next school year will be right around the corner, and that means planning for the necessities. It takes time for students to get into the habit of going to classes and with the majority of students being involved with on-campus affairs, it’s hard to find a set time to eat. It is vital for students to be more conscious of their line up to get the best use out of their meal plans.