With the new changes in meal plans, busy schedules and simply being a college student, sometimes finding the time to do daily tasks can be a struggle. Nearly 40% of Albion’s students are involved in varsity athletics or club sports. One of the biggest conflicts these students face is the interference of practice time with dinner time. Meanwhile, most Albion students are still confused on the new meal regulation plans entirely.
Before this year, Albion has always had a “one-size fits all” meal plan. After Bon Appetit did some student surveys, the staff noticed that 75% of the feedback on meal plans included the demand for a grab-and-go option. While the Eat Shop was open, the one-size-fits-all meal plan didn’t make it convenient for the large number of students wanting to grab-and-go. This same survey also showed that 65% of students wanted cheaper block plans. Bon Appetit’s staff decided to provide the students with access to everything. By offering an array of different meal plans, they have given students everything they’ve asked for and more.
According to Bon Appetit’s research, before this year, the average number of people, students and faculty included, inside the Eat Shop between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day was 84 people. Today, the Eat Shop sees 202 students during these same hours on average. The Eat Shop and Dub Box were designed to be convenient. These grab-and-go options are for those students with overbearing schedules that experience a lot of times when they need something to eat quickly.
Prior to this year, the number of people in Baldwin between 2 and 5 p.m. averaged between five and nine people. With the demand for grab-and-go, block plans, and the relatively smaller number of students in Baldwin, Bon Appetit decided to take advantage of the Eat Shop. David Lauffer, general manager of Bon Appetit, said that the time it takes for staff to put the food out and the amount of food that is actually eaten was a huge waste of money. Bon Appetit applied these factors to a grab-and-go option with the Eat Shop and the Dub Box.
Dominic Hamper, Grand Blanc sophomore and Albion lacrosse player, said that with his intense practices and demanding schedule, he expects a hot meal when he wants one. Before, the only thing open between 2 and 5 p.m. in Baldwin would be the deli and salad bars. However, students can now get salads, sandwiches, and an added hot option at the Eat Shop during these inconvenient hours.
Paige McKenna, Lowell first year golfer who often plays nine holes a day until 7:20 p.m., said she could be satisfied if there was a simple option where she could just quickly grab food.
Elliot Brinker, Livonia first year student in marching band, has class until 12:45 p.m. and his next class starts at 1 p.m.. With marching band, he only has 15 minutes for lunch, and no time to eat dinner after Baldwin’s closing hours. With his traditional meal plan, finding time to eat is really difficult.. Switching to the block plan could make Brinker’s campus dining experience more relaxed and convenient.
Lauffer recommends that student athletes choose the block plan.
“Practices often run late, and I understand that. But after we counted the number of people actually in Baldwin, it was cheaper for us to dedicate that money to grab-and-go options that the students would enjoy,” Lauffer said. “Hopefully your coach doesn’t hold you late after dinner time every night, but at least with the block plan, you can get that hot meal you deserve with no rush.”
Lauffer added that if more students switch to a block plan, he’s going to have to make the Eat Shop and Dub Box more nutritious.
“If the students utilize these options, and more of them keep coming, I’m going to have to make a vegetarian option, a gluten [free] option, a non dairy option, and so on. Everything we do is for the students, and we’re giving them exactly what they’re asking for.”
Photo by Rebecca Barry.