Converting meals, win or lose?

Pitt-Johnstown students receive many benefits while attending college. However, one benefit that seems to not be adding up is a new meal plan-conversion program that was under way last week.

Students were given the opportunity to convert up to 25 meal-plan meals at $5 each to accumulate more dining dollars to spend at campus food outlets other than the cafeterias.

This is the first time Sodexo managers are giving students this option to add more dining dollars by converting meal-plan meals.

It was a plus that Sodexo managers constructed this option, but we feel that they are taking advantage of students.

With the high costs of products from the Tuck, it makes it difficult for a student to buy a dinner with only $5, and they had to give up $7 to $11 to get the $5.

Some deal.

Students turn in meals they may have already paid too much for to get less money to spend in an outlet where…guess what? Prices are inflated.

With more conversions like that, students may be able to convert their money to zero before long.

A Pitt-Johnstown meal-plan can cost from the lowest commuter plan running at $825 to the highest unlimited plan going at $2,245.

That commuter plan comes with 55 meals and 220 dining dollars while the unlimited plan includes unlimited meals and 300 dining dollars.

If one were to take away the 220 dining dollars from the commuter plan that still leaves the cost of only 55 meal-plan meals at $605.

At this rate, each meal should be the equivalent of $11, not the lousy $5 students are given with the conversion deal.

Students already have financial burdens. A meal plan should be fair to the students. It should not be a way for the Sodexo managers to further exploit hungry students.

As a suggestion to Sodexo managers it might be a good idea to introduce a customized meal plan option that is equally fair to the students and themselves at the same time.

We put our trust in the Sodexo managers because on campus there are no other options. They should not be breaking that trust by attempting to make further profit from an already-paid-for meal plan.

As stated, one cannot visit the Tuck and purchase a full dinner for only $5. Honestly, a student can barely get a lunch or breakfast for that cost.

If the prices at the Tuck cannot be lowered then the conversion equivalency should be raised.

At the Student Government Association meeting Oct. 21, members said that Sodexo managers decided on the $5 so the rest of the money could still be used to pay employees who continue to work in the cafeteria.

Keeping an extra dollar or two is understandable per meal but keeping up to $6 away from each meal per student is just ridiculous.

The Tuck shop charges over $4 for a cup of grapes, yet it is supposed to be ok to give a student only $5 for a full meal cost. That doesn’t add up.

Sodexo managers attempted to make things more convenient for students and they should be commended for a flexible response to student desires.

Maybe next time Sodexo managers who try to help students could sharpen their pencils and be a little fairer to their customers.