:: Two meal swipes too many
With the opening of the Colonnades dining hall, many students are interested and excited about new, higher quality food. But many will soon become disenchanted by the high cost and forced decisions associated with this new dining option.
While Colonnades offers quality food, its costs are highly prohibitive. Most food offered at this establishment, whether a sandwich, large salad or a meal from the 1889 Grill Room, costs two meal plan swipes.
Even though each meal plan is equivalent to $2.50, depending on your selected meal plan, students actually pay between $6.50 for someone with a 19 meal plan, to $10.84 for someone with a 9 meal plan. This translates to a sandwich from Boars Head potentially being $21.68, depending on your meal plan option.
For students who live off campus, with smaller meal plans, the Colonnades is far too expensive to be a viable option for a weekend meal, because any meal from the Colonnades would cost them 40 percert of their meal plan ration for that week.
Furthermore, starting this week Harden will remain closed on the weekends, forcing students to go to the Colonnades should they want a full meal.
While Octagon, Varsity and Acorn will still offer service, the Colonnades will be the only facility to offer a la carte options.
Octagon offers very little filling or nutritional food during the weekends, and nothing at Varsity can be purchased with a single meal plan. This leaves Acorn as the only real alternative to the Colonnades during the weekend.
The simple fact that many meals at the Colonnades cost two meal plan swipes may prove too costly. If a student were to eat two meals a day on the weekend, they would subsequently be out eight meal plans.
For an on-campus resident, this could be as much as half of their weekly allowance. While it is true that thrifty students could choose to go to Acorn instead, Acorn cannot handle the influx of students that used to be served by Harden on the weekend.
If Acorn receives as many as 20 students at one time, it is considered packed. Most students only have $85 in meal dollars each semester, and cannot afford to give their patronage to Cantina Roble or Varsity on a regular basis.
Unlike other schools, Elonís dining strategy is based upon dispersal, keeping the dining options diverse and diffuse, spreading students out so there is not too much glut in any one spot. But dining options are disappearing.
With the closing of Danieley Center Commons and the recent removal of Harden as a weekend dining option, students are forced to choose between the Colonnades, Octagon and Acorn for dinner options.
This will lead to overcrowding in the facilities, and if last weekend is an indicator, the Colonnades staff members are unprepared to deal with such an influx of students, leading to a wait of more than 30 minutes at the Boars Head deli.
The prohibitive price of dining at the Colonnades and the new reliance serve a large portion of the student body forces one to question why the decision was made to make the food so expensive.
The food is adequate, but at a potential $21.68 for a sandwich, the price is absurd. Perhaps a larger meal plan will be offered next year.
How many students will ask for more meals plans just so they can eat during the weekends without jeopardizing their meal plan rations during the week?
It is imaginable that many students are willing to pay an extra meal plan at an establishment such as the 1889 Grill Room.
However, paying upwards of $20 for a sandwich is unconscionable. Furthermore, being forced to pay that much, because of a lack of weekend options allows Elon, Aramark and the Colonnades a captive audience from which they can demand whatever price they want.
While higher quality food may superficially justify a raise in price, when considering the actual price associated with eating at any of the options at Colonnades, many students would be justified in feeling that their best interests were not taken into account when the planning of this facility was conducted.
Staff: - 09/19/07