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Hot Takes With Tate: Flex 10 meal plan should be an option

Prior to the start of every academic year, incoming first-year students and returning students have the ability to decide which meal plan will best suit them. While Ohio University offers six different meal plans, they are rarely able to fully satisfy students’ day-to-day routines and aren’t always cost efficient.

Meal plans vary based on how many meal swipes are available each week and whether or not they include Flex Points, which are a form of currency that equates one Flex Point to $1. Here are all of the meal plan options available for OU students:

Traditional plans include either 10, 14 or 20 meal swipes per week that can be used at any dining hall and Smooth Moves at Boyd Market as well as a fixed number of guest swipes (the Traditional 10 plan does not include guest swipes). Flex plans include either 14 or 20 meal swipes per week as well as $225 in Flex Points per semester that can be used at any dining hall, Smooth Moves at Boyd Market and any campus market. Finally, the Destination Dining plan includes $450 in Flex Points that can be used at any dining hall or campus cafe, West 82 Food Court, Latitude 39, Brick City Deli and the currently closed Hungry Cat Food Truck, but they cannot be used at campus markets. The Destination Dining plan can be purchased on its own or as an add-on to any of the other options available.

In my experience, most people choose either the Traditional 14 plan or Flex 14 plan. I have encountered a tiny handful of people who have the Traditional 10 plan but never anyone with the Traditional 20, Flex 20 or Destination Dining plans. I personally have the Traditional 14 plan and have found it to be the best for me because I typically eat a very light breakfast and then usually fit lunch and dinner at a dining hall into my daily schedule. Everyone is different, though, which is why there isn’t just one plan that every student has to buy.

As I said, the Traditional 14 plan is the best choice for me. However, some days and even weeks get so busy that I wish I could use a swipe to quickly grab something from a market or campus restaurant. The reality is I typically end up feeling bad because I wasted a swipe for the week because it was easier to eat a snack on something not very nutritional, like microwave mac and cheese or ramen. Friends of mine who also have a traditional plan (and even ones with a flex plan) wish there was a less-expensive compromise between traditional meal swipes and Flex Points. 

My proposed solution is this: a Flex 10 plan. The Flex 10 plan would include the standard $225 in Flex Points per semester and 10 meal swipes per week. It would truly be the most “Flex”-ible plan for busy students who are trying their best to properly fuel their minds and bodies while also being a better deal than the cost of a Traditional or Flex 14 plan. Even if it were cheaper than either of those plans, it would likely not cause the university to lose any money because of how many students to whom it would appeal. While on the go, students could still head to the dining halls if they want to sit down and eat a meal with their friends but also be able to place a pickup order ahead of time from West 82, grab a cup of coffee before a study session at Front Room Coffeehouse and prevent meal swipes from going to waste by getting groceries at a campus market. 

If OU genuinely wants every student to become enriched through education, it would increase students’ access to food options while still remaining conscious of its finances. Students know better than anyone what will genuinely benefit them, and it would be nice to see a proper response to that from OU.

Tate Raub is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Tate know by tweeting her @tatertot1310.

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