Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Unpacking the challenges of Augie’s to-go box

Augustana’s dining services play a crucial role in providing students with diverse and convenient meal options. One option provided to students is the carryout or to-go box meal option, which is currently exclusively available to first-year and transfer students unless a student pays an additional fee. Extending access to to-go boxes and information about them beyond when a student receives one would improve convenience, flexibility and the overall student experience. 

The current system poses challenges for students who may have missed the opportunity to obtain their initial to-go box and mug during their first year at Augustana or are otherwise unable to procure a box because they are unaware of the price to pay or even the option to do so later in their time at Augustana. These scenarios highlight potential gaps in accessibility and call for a reevaluation of the to-go box system.

Also, students are encouraged to return their to-go meal boxes before breaks in exchange for a to-go box card; this creates further issues, as students may be unaware of the to-go box exchange as this information is only sent to students’ email accounts and available on the Augustana website’s Dining FAQs

There is the chance that students may lose the card and will have to pay for a box when returning from break as well, raising questions about the potential for an improved way of keeping track of to-go box returns and a way to send reminders when breaks approach. 

First-year and transfer students enjoy the convenience of receiving one to-go container and mug as part of their on-campus meal plans. However, students with the Gold Plan Unlimited face restrictions on using to-go meals or meal bundle options, information that is available on the website but may not be told to students when they receive their to-go materials.

Also, students who don’t go through the Welcome Week experience may not know to pick up a to-go box, as the information is provided during that week but is otherwise only available on the website. 

There is a lack of detailed information about the to-go box system outside of the general Dining FAQ page on the Augustana website, which may contribute to misunderstandings and hinder students from fully utilizing this convenient dining option.

Allowing non-transfer sophomores, juniors and seniors access to to-go boxes if they have not already picked one up provides a more flexible dining experience. Students in later years may face busier schedules, internships or off-campus commitments, making the convenience of to-go options invaluable.

Extending access ensures that students who missed out on their first-year opportunity or face unexpected challenges, like an illness or arriving on campus after Welcome Week, can still benefit from the to-go meal option. 

Enhancing information dissemination about the to-go box system is crucial. Providing detailed resources, perhaps through targeted communications, ensures that all students are aware of the availability and procedures surrounding to-go meals; improving communication about these services, their availability, and the potential for later access could prevent confusion and improve overall student satisfaction.

Revisiting the exclusivity of to-go boxes for first-year and transfer students at Augustana could significantly enhance the overall dining experience for the entire student body. 

By addressing the challenges posed by the current system and improving communication, the university can create a more inclusive and accommodating dining environment. As students progress through their academic journey, having access to to-go options can contribute to a more seamless and enjoyable college experience.

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