Meal Plan Changes to be Implemented Next Fall

By Kyle Naughton, Senior Writer

Starting in fall 2017, Middlebury will use a swipe-based dining plan to replace the current open dining system. Students will be required to swipe their MiddCards to gain entrance into campus dining halls as opposed to freely entering.

The administration attributes these dining changes to the unsustainability of the open dining hall system. The large number of outside diners, typically composed of visiting sports teams, parents, or surrounding Middlebury community members, has placed a financial strain on Middlebury’s dining budget in recent years. As such, the swiping system will be introduced to prevent outsiders from taking advantage of the College’s dining halls without paying. Hundreds of thousands of dollars may be saved as the College will need to buy less food overall.

The administration also hopes that the swipe system will reduce the amount of food waste on Middlebury’s campus. MiddCards will enable the college to collect data on student dining patterns and adjust food quantities accordingly to limit food waste after meals. The administration has also expressed the possibility of altering dining hall hours based on student’s eating patterns.

In the coming fall semester, all students who live on campus will be under an unlimited meal. Students will still be able to access all dining halls during all open times, only they will now need to first swipe in with their MiddCard.

MiddCards will also provide students with four guest passes and a 50 dollar declining balance per semester, which adds up to a total of eight guest passes and a 100 dollar declining balance for the entire year. Spare guest passes or declining balances will carry over from the fall semester into the spring, but neither will transfer to the next academic year.

The MiddCard’s declining balance may be spent at any Middlebury dining service location, including The Grille, Crossroads Café, MiddExpress, Wilson Café, 51 Main, the Snow Bowl snack bar, Rehearsals and the BiHall Kiosk. Starting Friday, April 28, students and parents will have the option to add money onto the MiddCard through Middlebury’s Campus Card Center website; additional dollars added to a student’s MiddCard will not only carry over from semester to semester, but also from year to year.

The administration has stated that students living off-campus next fall will have multiple meal plan options, but these choices have yet to be specified. Off-campus students will, however, have the opportunity to avoid a college meal plan altogether.

Depending on the success of the swipe system during the fall semester, the administration will consider implementing additional meal plans for the general student body next spring. Executive Director of Food Service Operations, Dan Detora, as well as the SGA-appointed Dining Committee are particularly open to feedback and will try to take students’ opinions into account when creating future meal options.