Res Life, Sodexo proposes meal plan changes

Sodexo and the Office of Residence Life have been working on possible meal plan adjustments that could go into effect as early as the 2019-2020 school year.
Possible changes include allowing meal swipes at Chick-fil-A, opening one dining hall on Sunday nights, bumping the transfer value of a meal up from $3.75 to $4.00, getting rid of prorated weeks and increasing the number of board days to six.
Currently, Sodexo prorates meals during weeks with breaks, because dining halls are not open.
“No matter how many signs we put up, a lot of the students just don’t grasp it or they’re not paying attention,” said Justin Dreslinski, Truman State University Sodexo general manager. “So they’re burning through their meals earlier in the week, and then they don’t have enough meals before they are scheduled to go home.”
Sodexo hopes discarding prorated meals will eliminate student confusion. Six more board days will be added as the prorated meals are cut. When board days are scheduled, dining services are open for normal operations.
Meal transferability will not work with Mein Bowl because it is a third party subcontractor. The cost of meal plans would increase if Mein Bowl transferability was allowed. Fiscally, it wouldn’t benefit students.
Because meal plans haven’t been changed in at least 5 years, Residence Life approached Sodexo to devise new meal plan options, Dreslinski said. To form the new plans, Sodexo used data from past meal plan usage and looked at which plans were popular and which weren’t. One prominent issue was the low number of students using the all-access meal plan. Last school year, 70 students had the all-access plan, and that number dropped down to seven students during the spring semester. Because all-access only allows meals to be used in dining halls, and the 75 flex dollars would typically be used for Sunday night dinner because no dining halls are open, many students displayed dissatisfaction with the plan.

Interim Residence Life Director William Nelson said providing value and a better experience for students was a key factor in Residence Life’s decision to alter the meal plans. Residence Life sought to ensure student money was being used in a beneficial way, so they sought out student interaction to receive feedback.
On Sept. 20, Dreslinski and Nelson traveled around campus to propose the possible meal plan changes to students. They compared current plans to possible new ones, explained how the new meals will be beneficial and responded to student feedback.
If these changes do occur, the cost of meal plans will increase by an average of $84.
“For the minimal amount of dollars that we’re raising the meal plans, [there will be] so many more benefits in the program,” Dreslinski said.
The Board of Governors must approve the raised prices of meal plans and Residence Life must approve meal plan changes before the adjustments can become official.