Chewing over the cost of dining

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September 20, 2010

9:57 PM

I hand my student I.D. to the woman working the cash register at the dining hall. Swipe $6.68 for breakfast. I’m content. Swipe another $9.77 for lunch. My ravenous hunger is appeased. Then it’s dinnertime. I swipe $10.23. Frankly, I am too tired and homework-deranged to care.

It is the fashion to complain about school food. With the media portraying college cafeteria food as globs that drip and are that’s haphazardly slapped onto a plate, students almost expect the food to suck. As a freshman, I was constantly told by students going here that the food wasn’t necessarily that great — or worth the money. After going to school here for a month, I respectfully disagree.

Comparing the cost of campus dining to the prices at other restaurants, I think that students at the College of William and Mary receive very economical rates for their on-campus meals. Eleven dollars for an all-you-can-eat meal? Considering that a normal sandwich costs about $5 to $6, and a regular drink between $1 to $2, that equates to a meal with a total of $6 to $8. With another $3 to $5, a student can get dessert and a side plate of chips, fruit, etc. How could we view this as overcharging students when, essentially, the student is getting more food with the meal plan?

Take the Sadler Center and the Commons Dining Hall for example; one swipe and you can eat everything there — and eating everything is rather hard since the variety of options at the Caf actually manages to disorient some people. The $11 is high for a meal, but not when that money gives you access to a buffet.
Students should remember to take advantage of the meal options they are given at the College. After all, where else are people permitted to eat a full pizza, salad and a sandwich all in one sitting — and without paying extra money?

Another growing concern among students at the College has centered around the serving portions. First, I’d like to point out that serving portions don’t actually count for very much at all-you-can-eat dining locations. Second, the serving portions are intended to ensure students’ health. Like many other programs the school offers, such as access to the facilities at the Student Recreation Center, the serving portions are meant to protect the health of students.

So, the next time you use a meal swipe at the College, think about the deal you’re getting — and hopefully you’ll find something you like at one of the stations.

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