Dining Services will eliminate dining points and Terp Bucks at the end of this semester — as well as the carryout option — and will introduce an anytime dining plan in the fall that mimics the majority of the universities in the Big Ten, Dining Services spokesman Bart Hipple said.
The four main dining plans will include a base plan that will grant students access to the North and South Campus dining halls and 251 North, a basic plus plan that adds 200 dining dollars, a preferred plan that adds 300 dining dollars and a premium plan that adds 400 dining dollars. Customers who do not have a dining plan will pay a door price, which has yet to be determined.
The Department of Resident Life and the Student Government Association approved the change, Hipple said.
“The basic plan is seven-day, unlimited access to three dining halls any time they’re open,” Hipple said. “The plus adds on spending power in different retail units operated by Dining Services where a dollar is a dollar.”
If students choose plans with extra dining dollars, they can use these dollars at cafes and convenience stores on the campus — similar to Terp Bucks — as well as at several locations in Stamp Student Union, including Adele’s, the Dairy, The Coffee Bar, Subway, Chick-fil-A, Sbarro, Taco Bell and Auntie Anne’s, Hipple said.
The anytime dining plan will also eliminate all carryout options at the dining halls, which Hipple said will save six million pieces of carryout material per year.
“Between the sustainability aspect and the community-building aspect of having your meals in the dining hall and eating with the people you’re living with, those are two of our values and those are two of the campus’ values,” Hipple said. “So we’re moving to support that very strongly.”
The absence of a carryout option will be an adjustment for students who are accustomed to taking their meals to-go.
“Sometimes I grab food because I don’t have time to sit down and eat,” freshman architecture major Kennede Johnson said. “I don’t see an issue with a community space, I just want to be able to take my food back.”
Biometric palm scanners will be implemented in the dining halls, which will open a gate to the serving area when a student’s hand is successfully scanned. Stations will be set up beginning in late April that will allow current students to record their hands and signature through these machines, Hipple said.
“It’s going to involve some remodeling,” Hipple said. “The point of acknowledgment [will be] as you come into the dining hall, not as you leave the serving area. So that’s going to be a completely different traffic flow, and then people will have to leave through the same doors they come in.”
Hipple said consultants have visited the dining halls to observe the traffic flow and count customers at the register and have determined that the dining halls have sufficient seating to accommodate more students. Dining Services is also looking to add different features such as study spaces and printers in the dining rooms that will help to build a community space, he said.
251 North will additionally be open in the fall semester for lunch and dinner as a third dining hall. The dining hall currently serves dinner Monday through Friday, but Dining Services is looking to open for another day of the week, Hipple said. The dining plans will also include a number of guest passes.
“Every time you come into a dining hall now it’s a transaction,” Hipple said. “It’s not like coming into your own space. You’re buying something every time you go into a dining hall, and taking that away makes it a much more welcoming and happier place to go.”
Dining Services aims to increase student satisfaction with the dining program changes after observing similar programs at other Big Ten universities such as Michigan, Penn State, Northwestern and Purdue with higher satisfaction, he said.
“I think the biggest thing is that there are a lot of other universities that do an all-you-can-eat,” junior computer science major Christian Johnson said. “With our dining system, you have to constantly budget your points, and sometimes I feel like students really want to get through the semester with the points they have.”