Meal plan not valued by some

Brianne Fleming, Staff Writer

Student opinions are mixed  regarding required meal plans at Pitt-Johnstown, but both an administrator and a student leader agree the requirements are a good thing.

Some students said they wonder whether meal plans should be required.

UPJ freshman Molly Eshbach said she doesn’t think a meal plan is necessary, but it is required of freshmen living on campus.

“I don’t think it should be required,” said Eshbach. “The cafeteria food doesn’t provide the nutritional values for everyone’s needs.”

Cost is always an issue.

Many students end up with several extra meals per semester, and the cost of those meals is not refunded. With other college costs such as books, tuition and housing, a restricted meal plan for campus residents is not fair, according Eschbach.

“It is just extra money for the parents to pay,” said Eschbach.

Meal-plan prices range from $755 for 55 dining passes, to $1,732 for unlimited dining.

Some students, though, rely heavily on their meal plan. Freshman Laurel Hall resident Taylor Schall said she eats at the cafeteria or Tuck Shop at least twice a day.

“I need my meal plan,” said Schall. “Without it, I either wouldn’t eat or I would be broke from buying food every day.”

Vice president of auxiliaries and special initiatives Christian Stumpf said he believes meal plans are a responsibility that Pitt-Johnstown owes to its students.

“We have a responsibility to provide them the necessary essentials, and that includes a meal plan,” said Stumpf. “It gives them healthy options to choose from.”

Stumpf said that living away from home provides many responsibilities, and cooking numerous meals a day would be one of them without a meal plan.

“Freshman students have never really cooked for themselves,” said Stumpf.  “If students have to put more effort into making meals every day, they have less time for other important things. We listen to what the students want, and the cost is appropriate.”

Randall Penn, Vice Chairman of the Student Senate Food Services Committee, said he feels the meal requirement is legitimate.

Regarding the cost, Penn said he feels Sodexo is a business and is just doing as any other business would do.

“Labor is expensive and it takes a small army to run this place.

“It’s setting the tone for the college experience,” said Penn. “It gives the student one less problem to worry about.”