Albion College students on the meal plans might notice some changes in what they are able to purchase with their meal swipes, compared to the previous academic years. Student reactions to these changes are mixed.
At the Eat Shop, located in the Kellogg Center, students are no longer able to purchase a chicken tender meal, a turkey burger meal or a chicken sandwich meal with their meal swipes. Students can purchase these items with cash, credit or with dining dollars. However, grilled cheese sandwiches are still redeemable with a meal swipe.
“It kind of sucks because I would fall back on those when I didn’t want a rice bowl or a wrap,” said D’Mitrius Robinson, Albion senior. “Hopefully, more substitutions are available aside from just wraps and rice bowls.”
Read Between the Grinds no longer offers smoothies, leaving the Dow Wellness and Recreation Center’s smoothie bar as the only location offering smoothies. Lydia Gilbert, Sault Ste. Marie senior, visits the library frequently and was disappointed to find out that smoothies were no longer available at the library.
“At the same time, I have my own apartment and my own blender to make my own smoothies,” said Gilbert.
Despite the smoothie availability at the Dow Wellness and Recreation Center, students wanting to purchase a smoothie with a meal swipe only have three options to choose from: The Brit, The Tropics and The Avocado Spinach. The rest of the smoothies will be available for purchase with cash, card or dining dollars.
Dylan Blazon, Comstock Park junior, has not purchased smoothies as frequently compared to the last academic year due to this change.
“I haven’t really gone because of the changes,” said Blazon. “I couldn’t use any of my meal swipes and I only have a couple of dining dollars.”
Lexi, a worker at the smoothie bar, has noticed that students are unhappy with the lack of options they have to purchase items with meal swipes.
“My regulars aren’t my regulars at all this year,” said Lexi. “The question they kept asking is ‘who made this decision?’”
Gail Abrams-Aungst, the general manager of Metz Culinary Management, explained via email that the changes stem from a rising in food supply, operation costs and labor demand throughout the past six months all while experiencing staff and supply shortages.
“Labor costs have increased 20% or more in six months,” said Abrams-Aungst, via email. “Last year there were more options available due to COVID. This was to get students serviced faster.”
Meanwhile, students are grappling with the amount of dining dollars they currently have compared to the costs of items that cannot be purchased with meal swipes. Some students have meal plans that do not have any dining dollars included.
“I’m on a commuter meal plan, so I don’t have any actual dining dollars,” said Gilbert.
Blazon argues that students will purchase less items frequently due to their favorite options no longer being available for purchase with meal swipes.
“Each person can only go now and then, or else they will spend their dining dollars,” said Blazon. “75 bucks go by fast.”