Dining hall meal plans will soon become a required component of on-campus life for future students at the College of William and Mary.
Starting with the class of 2015, students will be required to purchase a meal plan each year they choose to live on campus. The policy, which will take effect in fall 2012, will not affect current students at the College.
This change in dining policy stems from Dining Services’s need for increased revenue. Dining Services aims to increase the quality of the dining halls with the expanded participation in meal plans.
“Our goal is that we can take the additional money and use that to finance improvements to our various dining facilities,” Vice President for Finance Sam Jones ’75 M.B.A. ’80 said. “We really need to improve on that and make some fairly significant investments. If we have increased participation, we’ll have more revenue to make those changes.”
The College, along with the University of Virginia and Washington and Lee University, is one of the few Virginia schools that currently does not require all students living on campus to purchase meal plans.
Virginia Tech, for example, mandates that all residential students buy dining options and was named the Best Campus Food by the Princeton Review in 2009.
“We recognize that we need to generate additional revenue to fund those changes,” Carolyn Davis, director of auxiliary services, said. “The majority of Virginia schools require residential meal plans. So, we have looked at that as a potential for our own campus.”
While the plans for the revenue have not been finalized, the College hopes to utilize the money to expand the Sadler Center’s capacity and change the Marketplace layout.
“By having the opportunity to expand seating, we hope to offer a better dining experience at the Sadler Center,” Resident District Manager for Dining Services Matt Moss said. “We recognize a need for new and innovative cuisine on campus and a need to expand our facilities.”
Additionally, the College hopes to utilize information from the students and dining services to re-evaluate current dining options.
“We’ve discussed the need for a wide variety of meal plans,” Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D ’06 said. “We’ll look at some data at how students have purchased meal plans in the past and we’ll work with a food services advisory committee and other students to help develop the program.”
Over the next four years, the College hopes to phase in the new required residential meal plans in order to improve the quality of Dining Services’ services and facilities.
“The better we can make our dining program overall, the more students will value it,” Ambler said.