Removal of guest swipes is annoying surprise, makes accommodating visitors more challenging

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Toward the end of the last semester, the new meal plans for the upcoming academic year were announced. There were quite a few changes to the previously offered meal plans, many of which I found unnecessary and undesirable. While the switch from the Gold 14 plan to the Block 175 plan garnered the most debate from students in the spring, it is too early in the semester to say whether that will be a beneficial switch or not.

Students on the Block 175 plan have only 11.67 swipes per week, which is a challenging routine to maintain for 15 weeks. It is mathematically impossible for people on that plan to swipe twice every day, which I would personally find frustrating given the difficulty of cooking meals during busy weeks.

My friends who are now on the Block 175 plan seem to dislike it so far, noting that despite the increase in dining dollars, it is simply not feasible to use only 11 swipes per week. The most unfortunate shift, however, is the removal of guest swipes from meal plans. I failed to notice the suspicious omission of guest swipes when choosing my meal plan last semester. Previously, meal plans came with five guest swipes per semester. This year, instead of using a guest swipe to bring a friend into Sadler or the Caf, I must pay $7.95 in dining dollars. Provided that I only have $400.00 in dining dollars this fall, I fear that frequently swiping in visiting friends and family will bankrupt me.

Last year, the guest swipes were a life saver. When my friends from other colleges came to visit, I could easily swipe them into any dining hall, and we could enjoy a meal together. As cash-strapped college kids, we were all happy to not be spending extra money in Colonial Williamsburg’s expensive restaurants. When I had friends visit for a long weekend, we enjoyed more than five meals together; eating out five times in a row would be financially irresponsible, and I was grateful to the College of William and Mary for allowing flexibility for my visitors.

Instead of wasting dining dollars on guest swipes, I was happy to save them for barbecue chips from the Student Exchange, which are always a wonderful treat after a stressful exam or a long day of extracurricular commitments. Taking away the guest swipes seems to be a move that is purely for the College’s advantage and at no real benefit to the students.

I appreciated the ample notice regarding the changes to the meal plans. Finding out in the spring semester gave me plenty of time to decide what meal plan I wanted, and so far, I am happy with the option that I chose.

However, I wish that they had clearly marked the changes to the plan with regard to the removal of guest meal swipes.

It was a bit of a shock to return to campus expecting guest meal swipes and not have any. I suppose moving forward, I will have to adjust my plans for when friends visit me in Williamsburg — I anticipate many trips to Wawa in order to satisfy our hunger.

Email Anna Boustany at aeboustany@email.wm.edu.